Do the ‘dreamers’ deal, and then some more
After seven months of catering to the Republican base, President Trump has started cutting deals with Democrats through his new pals, Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, or as he calls them, “Chuck and Nancy.”
The two Democratic leaders reached an agreement with Trump on the debt ceiling and hurricane relief last week. Now they appear close to a deal on what’s called the DACA program, which protects from deportation nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to America as kids.
It is not certain the arrangement discussed at the White House on Wednesday night will hold up. Already, it has sparked a fierce backlash from conservatives, as well as opposition from the far left, where anything other than resistance to Trump is considered treasonous. But assuming a deal gets done, it will provide something for both sides.
Trump and fellow Republicans would get more border-security money (though no wall) and escape from the corner they have put themselves in by threatening to deport U.S.-educated, well-integrated residents who have overwhelming public support.
Democrats would see a practical and merciful Obama-era policy codified into law, despite the Trump administration’s recent moves to rescind DACA. Most important, the “dreamers” would no longer have to worry about being exiled to countries that they might have few connections to.
The agreement has wider implications as well; namely, if Democrats and Republicans can find common ground on DACA, they can do so on other matters. These sorts of bipartisan compromises represent how Washington is supposed to work but too rarely does.
Several important issues have been bottled up by partisan politics, though they have widespread popular support, and possibly even majorities within Congress willing to back them.
The most obvious is a simplification of America’s unwieldy tax code. A plan could advance now if both parties were to gang up on the special interests.
Improving and expanding America’s crumbling infrastructure is another area ripe for a deal, and perhaps should have been Trump’s first order of business after taking office.
The most intriguing idea for compromise is comprehensive immigration reform that would blend enhanced enforcement with a path to legality for millions of undocumented workers.
Why Trump, who rode antiimmigrant rhetoric to the White House, is suddenly cutting deals is anyone’s guess. The best is that it is an outgrowth of his failures in trying to legislate strictly along party lines with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Also in question is how far Trump can go in bucking the GOP base, and how far Schumer and Pelosi can go with Democrats.
But Don and Chuck and Nancy and Mitch and Paul have the opportunity to open some doors that have long been shut. It is time to go through them.
SOURCE Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted Sept. 7-11 of 1,976 registered voters. Margin of error is ±2 percentage points.