CMR, DACA, and the Discharge Petition
Dear Group, McMorris Rodgers (with Paul Ryan) just avoided a display of something close to real democracy. Instead, they went for the partisan politics and Congressional gridlock on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). (You could be excused if you missed this detail while the Tweeter in Chief keep attention on HIS antics.) I discussed the DACA discharge petition in CMR’s DACA Bait and Switch. In this case, the discharge petition, a parliamentary maneuver by Republican moderates, would have forced a vote on four DACA bills. At the Green Bluff town hall, McMorris Rodgers announced she was "working hard" to find a solution for the Dreamers. Then, despite some who have characterized her as moderate, she refused to sign the discharge petition. Instead, her "working hard" was to come up with a hard line Republican bill and tamp down the insurrection by the Republican moderates. Apparently, the last thing the Republican leadership wants is a bill that actually addresses straight on the plight of the Dreamers. They know that would be way too popular with the American people. Last Tuesday Ryan's office announced the discharge petition had failed...for lack of two more Republican co-signers. All 193 Democrats and 23 Republicans had signed. Tuesday was the deadline for the discharge petition to force a floor vote during the month of June. (I've been unable to figure out if its backers would have to start again from square one to mount another challenge in July.) The Ryan/McMorris Rodgers team used their "leadership" to strong-arm moderates members away from signing the discharge petition and an embarrassing set of votes. Instead, McMorris Rodgers and company have hurriedly put together a hard-line immigration bill that stands little chance of passage in the House and virtually no chance in the Senate. McMorris Rodgers, who lets the word "bipartisan" pass her lips with some frequency in town halls, worked to concoct a three hundred plus page bill entirely behind closed doors with Republicans only, struggling to come up with a compromise between the factions of her own Party and completely ignoring Democrats. There will be no straight-up vote on the plight of the Dreamers as a stand alone bill. No, the bill McMorris Rodgers "worked hard" to put together offers a Steven Miller/Trump/Bannon xenophobic overhaul of immigration rules. McMorris Rodgers and company wish to pose this as a compromise. It is not compromise, it is extortion. The two issues it proposes to solve are issues Trump and his administration have intentionally made into acute problems. "OK, we'll lay off of the Dreamers. We'll give them permanent residency status and a complicated, lengthy path to citizenship (we don't want the path to citizenship and voting to be easy or certain...they might vote us out!)" Of course, the need to rescue the Dreamers is all on account of Trump's executive order to end DACA. "We'll make the problem urgent and then we'll offer a fix as a bargaining tool." So this is "the art of the deal"? The other concession in the Ryan/McMorris bill is extortion based Jeff Sessions instructions to separate children from parents at the border (heavily backed by the gaunt racist, Steven Miller), apparently as a way to discourage asylum seekers. Voila! "We'll create this outrage and then as a bargaining chip we'll offer to fix the problem we've created!" What do Steven Miller/Trump/Sessions/Bannon and the Republicans get? A dramatic tightening of immigration and asylum rules in line with their racist/nativist tendencies plus massive funding for Trump's border wall. From the NYTimes last Thursday, June 14th: “We’re bringing legislation that’s been carefully crafted and negotiated to the floor,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said Thursday. “We won’t guarantee passage.” And its passage is far from assured. Within hours of the draft’s release, Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that it would urge lawmakers to vote against the measure, deriding it as “amnesty.” If the Heritage Foundation calls it "amnesty" there won't be enough Republican votes to pass this horror even out of the House (much less the Senate) and the Democrats won't and shouldn't cave in to extortion. McMorris Rodgers will keep saying she's "working hard." She'll try to leave the impression with her constituents she's seeking a solution for the Dreamers. She tears up while listening to the Dreamers' stories. Will she support a discharge charge that forces a straight vote on their plight, a vote that might actually show a whiff of real bipartisanship, of real democratic voting, of the will of the majority of the people of the United States? No. Will she stand up to her racist, xenophobic, blustery President? No. Instead, she is "working hard" to play Republican hardball politics that sacrifice the Dreamers and asylum-seeking families on the altar of Trump/Miller/Bannon nativism. This bill she on which she "worked hard" is not based on the America I was brought up to cherish, not the America I was taught about in school, not the America of the Statue of Liberty. This bill speaks of a mean and inward-looking America, a fearful America, an America I struggle to recognize. What good is McMorris Rodgers' "leadership position" if all she does with it is follow the worst instincts of a hateful, morally bankrupt President and his enablers? Keep to the high ground, Jerry P.S. Trump, the mercurial emperor, has already promised not to sign McMorris Rodgers' and Paul Ryan's "moderate" bill. Does anyone remember months ago when Trump famously said something like "send me a bill to fix DACA and I'll sign it?" I remember it because Trump's words sent the diligent and very earnest Mormon boy scout, the Senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, to his desk for an all-nighter trying to craft a bill that would we a workable bi-partisan compromise. His effort was slammed. That experience may finally have awakened this one Republican to the authoritarian threat this President embodies.