The new Democratic House majority isn’t even seated yet, and Democratic leaders in Congress are already putting President Donald Trump to the test with legislative demands that were unthinkable under a GOP majority.
On Thursday, Congress passed a two-week continuing resolution to fund the government past the December 7 deadline, kicking the can down the road till Christmas to strike a deal on appropriations or risk a partial government “shutdown.” President Trump wants $5 billion in funding for a border wall, a proposal Democrats are rejecting. Some have suggested Trump might offer DACA amnesty in exchange for border wall funding, but presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters yesterday the wall and amnesty for dreamers are “two different subjects.” So a wall funding/DACA deal seems unlikely in the House, which means congressional wall funding is off the table until 2020, when Republicans have a chance to take back the majority.
Over in the Senate, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is setting the terms of surrender for Republicans on another of Trump’s major priorities. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Schumer writes that any deal on an infrastructure program must include “policies and funding” that transition the United States to “a clean-energy economy.” This is code language for fuel taxes and subsidies for “green energy.” Schumer also calls for “massive investments in renewable-energy infrastructure” (meaning massive spending), tax credits for clean-energy production, and undefined programs to “reduce the amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere.” That likely means outright bans of certain fossil fuels, or a carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme like the one President Obama attempted to enact.
Why does Schumer get to make these demands as the leader of the minority party in the Senate? Why do he and Pelosi get to make demands on wall funding? As Schumer writes, “For any legislation to pass the Senate, 60 votes are required.” Once again, the Senate filibuster will be abused by Senate Democrats to force their priorities through Congress or shut the legislature down through obstruction. The Senate has already shown itself to be the chamber where conservative legislation dies. The question for the next two years is: Will Republicans kill leftist legislation?
With a presidential election on the horizon, House Democrats will not act like Republicans and water down their bills to be palatable to the Senate. They will continue to play hardball. Is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepared to tell the House that no progressive bills will advance in the Senate? Is President Trump prepared to veto ill-conceived bipartisan “compromises” that advance the Left’s agenda while selling conservatives out?
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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