Democrats Tout Victory in Trump Budget Deal
The threat of a government shutdown has been averted, but not without some serious concessions from the Trump administration on issues such as no funding for a border wall, and other sticking points like funding cuts to sanctuary cities, or attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.
Report on the budget deal from NBC News:
A deal has been reached on a $1 trillion-plus bill to fund the government for the final five months of this fiscal year, an agreement that is likely to avert a government shutdown.
Congressional negotiators had been working through the weekend to hash out the last remaining complications in a bill to fund the government before the agreement was announced Sunday night.
The newly reached deal includes an additional $15 billion in defense spending, less than what Trump asked for, but still $25 billion more than last year’s spending. It also includes a permanent fix to fund coal miners’ health care instead of a temporary extension.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York called the deal “a good agreement for the American people” that “takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table.”
“The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders and increases investments in programs that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure,” Schumer said Sunday night.
“Early on in this debate, Democrats clearly laid out our principles,” he said. “At the end of the day, this is an agreement that reflects those principles.”
Democrats stressed that there is no money not only for a border wall, but also none for a deportation force, and they said there would be no cut in funding for so-called sanctuary cities.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the President was attacking his political opponents as being simply a party of obstruction:
The Democrats, without a leader, have become the party of obstruction.They are only interested in themselves and not in what's best for U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2017
I’m searching far and wide here, but I don’t see much in the way of victory for the Trump administration. The Democrats may be lacking a leader, but they still seem to be accomplishing quite a bit in DC. Trump, on the other hand, is supposed to be the bully-pulpit leader, yet the budget battle over border wall funding and other Trump initiatives seemed finished before it began. Trump will say he’s simply dealing and taking what he can get, which was an increase in border security funding rather than risk a government shutdown. That might be the case, but it seemed like the effort was pretty minimal on his part.
Granted, the deal isn’t quite done yet as the House and Senate must both pass it, and it could still change. The agreement has been reached tentatively, so long as nothing much changes this week, it’ll likely pass as it stands.
Fox News mentions the two items that are being marked as victories for Trump:
The measure funding the remainder of the 2017 budget year eliminates cuts to popular domestic programs like medical research and infrastructure grants. Trump did obtain $1.5 billion for border security measures such as additional detention beds. And he got a $15 billion down payment on his efforts to strengthen the military.
So Trump was able to squeeze a little more military funding out, and another billion and a half on border security. In the grand scheme of things, those items are almost rounding errors in the federal budget. Not to diminish it, but these items hardly seem close to the lofty items promised for months during the campaign, and for weeks during his presidency.
Doesn’t much matter though, because Trump remains very popular with the base:
A Washington Post/ABC poll released Sunday found that while just 42% of respondents said they approved of Trump’s performance so far, 96% of Trump voters said they did the right thing by voting for him.
Just 2% said they regretted voting for Trump.
Trump is being given some generous latitude from supporters over when and how he can implement some of his biggest promises. His detractors will magnify the shortcomings, like the lack of border wall funding, but his supporters will point to promises kept, like Justice Neil Gorsuch. There is always two sides to every coin. In Sunday’s budget deal, however, Democrats have much to be pleased with.