When news broke late Sunday night that an agreement had been reached on a six-month funding plan between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, many people searched avidly for details of the bill. Despite the suspicious timing of the news, many Trump enthusiasts were no doubt hopeful that he had been able to deliver of many of his promises.
The Trump administration had been desperately seeking something, anything, they could point to as a major achievement during his first 100 days as president. Although that deadline technically passed on Saturday, it would be an achievement to reach consensus on funding the government through September, even if it were a day late.
The $1 trillion dollar deal would keep the government going through the end of the fiscal year. But even a cursory look at the funding provisions in this legislation shows that not only did the Republicans pay a heavy price but
Trump got skunked.
The bill provides $1.5 billion dollars for border security. But none of it, not one red dime, can be spent on building a wall or hiring additional border agents. Nothing. Nada. Zip. The Republicans in Congress would not go to the mat for Trump’s premier campaign promise. No doubt, they might claim that Ted Cruz’s touted “El Chapo” plan will pay for the wall, but right now, that is just pie in the sky. And even if passed, it is doubtful that it would generate the necessary funds.
Trump had requested $30 billion for additional defense spending. He received less than half that amount, a measly $12.5 billion, with the promise of another $2.5 billion if Trump or his generals ever actually come up with a plan to fight ISIS.
Other victories scored by the Democrats include:
No defunding of sanctuary cities.
As Trump’s executive order to do just that is not held up in the federal courts on the grounds of its constitutionality, the Republican leadership no doubt decided this was not the high they chose to die on. So even if, by the remotest possibility, Trump should prevail in court, this legislation effectively kills his executive order.
Continued federal funding of Planned Parenthood
This had been a huge bone of contention in the debates surrounding the initial Republican Healthcare plan. The Democrats wanted it, but the Freedom Caucus dug in their collective heels over this and other objections, so the bill never saw the light of day.
This will be a major blow to the pro-life movement, especially supporters of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan who believed their promises to eliminate federal funding of PP.
There had been concern among Democrats that once a funding bill had been agreed upon, the Republicans would move to eliminate the subsidies for low-income recipients of Obamacare. The Republicans conceded this point to the Democrats, along with agreeing to continue to support Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funds. This last bit, Puerto Rico, appears to have been the final point of contention to reaching consensus on the bill.
The Arts, the Parks, and Other Things
Instead of eliminating funding for programs such as the National Endowment of the Arts, along with the federal Park Service (who so greatly annoyed Trump with their pictures of his inauguration day crowds), these groups are instead seeing a slight increase in their funding. In addition, monies for national health and community action centers remain funded. Coal miners will not lose their healthcare coverage, which had been under threat.
The Democrats were able to successfully stave of over 160 riders, or “poison pills,” to the bill, which is no mean accomplishment. They did, however, agree to provide an additional $61 million dollars to the Secret Service to cover the costs of Trump’s almost weekly trips to his resort in Florida.
The following highly scientific poll was recently conducted with surprising results.
It should be noted that this agreement was reached by leaders of both parties in both the House and the Senate. In order to keep the government afloat, it must be passed and signed into law by this Friday, when the one-week extension runs out.
Pundits, economists, and talking heads with be thrashing out the details of the bill in the following days. There are, no doubt, some victories for Trump and the Republican Party in the legislation. But, so far, they are extremely hard to find.
It is small wonder that Trump was railing last week about the “arcane rules” of government. Compromise is not his strong suit. Bullying and threats are his favorite tactics, but they don’t translate well from business to government. As Trump basically admitted a few days ago
Presidenting is hard
Perhaps had the Trump administration not been so desperate for a 100-day victory, Ryan and the other Republican leadership would have been able to negotiate from a position of strength. But the Democrats knew they had the upper hand and did not hesitate to wield it.
And for Trump, this bill is not only a day late, it is definitely a dollar short. Or more like billions of dollars short. But he is caught between a rock and a hard place. He is facing a more or less united Congress behind this bill, and it will fall solely on his head should he decide to veto it and shut down the government.