Thursday :: Jan 18, 2018

Democrats: Take the CHIP Extension and 30-Day CR


by Deacon Blues

Once again, the ineptitude of total GOP government control has led the country to an imminent government shutdown this weekend. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has yet to be extended, leaving over 6 million families with a loss of pediatric health care. And the 800,000 Dreamers have yet to see Donald Trump live up to his rhetoric about wanting to protect them from deportation.

Instead, Republicans are trying to use the impending shutdown, which is totally of their own making to make Democrats choose between a CHIP extension and a Dreamer fix, through trying to leverage the shutdown as a hammer. In the midst of this GOP effort to drive a wedge between Democrats and their base, Trump is undermining Republican strategy by saying he is against tying a CHIP extension to a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR), which is exactly what the House GOP wants to do.

The simple fact is that a Dreamers deal does not have to get done this month, whereas a CHIP extension does. A Dreamers deal needs to be done before April.

Yes, Democrats are under great pressure from their base to remove the threat of deportation from the Dreamers, but it is also true that Democrats cannot have any fingerprints upon a CHIP expiration or a government shutdown in a year where there are vulnerable incumbent Senate Democrats from purple and red states on the ballot in November. And it is also a fact of life that nearly three quarters of voters want the Dreamers to be protected.

So allow me to suggest the following. The House GOP already has enough votes to pass a 30-day CR without a DACA fix but with a 6-year CHIP extension. House Democrats should let them do that, and Chuck Schumer should wait until the last minute tomorrow to allow his red and purple-state 2018 incumbents to vote with Senate Republicans to pass the bill with a 60-vote total. The goals here would be to:

1. Take the 6-year CHIP extension now and get it off the table, with the 30-day CR;

2. Push the DACA fix to next month’s debate to avoid another shutdown, knowing that the electorate would support Democrats demanding a clean DACA fix as part of any budget deal;

3. The GOP would be severely punished if it went over the cliff and shut the government down over a DACA vote tied to funding the border wall.

If Schumer waited until the last minute to see he can get a better deal from a wavering GOP, he could then turn loose his vulnerable 2018 incumbents to vote with the GOP and send a bill to the White House that Trump has signaled he doesn't want. It would force a wedge not amongst the Democrats but rather between the GOP and Trump should he decide to veto the bill and shut down the government.

And Democrats get a 6-year CHIP extension now, and the opportunity to leverage the GOP severely 30 days from now.

Update, Friday: After initially signaling that Senate Democrats would stop the House's CR dead in its tracks, Chuck Schumer agreed to President Trump's request for a 1:1 meeting, without any GOP leaders. This is a good development, knowing that Trump really wants to be seen as a deal maker here, and knowing that Lindsey Graham and other Senate Republicans want a deal as well. My hope is that Schumer will be able to work with Trump to get something through the Senate that would create problems for House Republicans. A wedge is a wedge.

Deacon Blues :: 2:11 PM :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!