Buckled Under Pressure

Tuesday, January 23, 2018Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 10.51.58 AM

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Congress brought an end to a three-day government shutdown on Monday as Senate Democrats buckled under pressure to adopt a short-term spending bill.
  • About two dozen senators from both parties banded together to push their leaders to a deal to reopen the government.
  • Activists said Democrats had let down young undocumented immigrants by reopening the government after only three days.
  • The Trump administration said it would impose tariffs next year of 20 percent on imported washing machines and 30 percent on solar cells and modules.
  • Companies are announcing bonuses as a result of the tax cuts, but it remains to be seen how much of that money will filter down to workers in the years to come.
— The First Draft Team
News Analysis

Democrats Blink in Shutdown Impasse, Hoping for a Bargain

Democrats had hoped the public would embrace the use of all possible methods, including a government shutdown, to come to the rescue of the young unauthorized immigrants known as the Dreamers.

Democrats had hoped the public would embrace the use of all possible methods, including a government shutdown, to come to the rescue of the young unauthorized immigrants known as the Dreamers. Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Senate Democrats blinked. But the saving grace for them may be that they did it quickly.
“Should we have ever shut down the government?” asked Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who played a leading role in finding a way out for Democrats. “Absolutely not.”
Over the weekend it became clear that using the shutdown to insist on protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants was a serious miscalculation. By abandoning the strategy on its third day, Democrats believe they limited any damage and gave the public time to forget about the disruption before the crucial November election.
They also won a commitment from Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, to allow debate on a wide-ranging, bipartisan measure that could achieve their goal of protecting the young immigrants.
Read More »
The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging federal protections for the habitat of the dusky gopher frog, an endangered animal, in Louisiana.

Supreme Court Considers a Raucous Party and an Endangered Frog


The Supreme Court ruled that the police were entitled to arrest partygoers in a vacant house and will hear the case of the dusky gopher frog.

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has always drawn elites who believe in globalism, climate change and free trade.

Fox in the Globalist Henhouse? Davos Awaits Trump’s Arrival


How will the president’s protectionism go over at the elite World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which draws leaders who believe in globalism and free trade?

Matt Bevin, the governor of Kentucky, with President Trump last week in Washington. Kentucky is the first state to win approval from the Trump administration to impose a work requirement on many Medicaid recipients.

Kentucky’s New Idea for Medicaid Access: Pass Health Literacy Course


A lot of people could do with a little more health and financial literacy, not just Medicaid recipients. But linking it to retaining medical eligibility may not make sense.

Vice President Mike Pence, center, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel during a welcome ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday.

Pence Says U.S. Embassy Will Open in Jerusalem Next Year


Vice President Mike Pence promised the quicker-than-expected move during a visit to Israel’s Parliament, where Arab lawmakers staged a protest and were removed.

A hangar at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, in December. During the short-lived shutdown on Monday, civilian employees had to wait around to see if they would be working.

Whiplash for Federal Workers: Go Home! Wait! Come Back!


Federal workers across the country fumed at both political parties. And uncertainties remained.

A voter registration event in Philadelphia last year. Critics say Pennsylvania’s Congressional district map is one of the most gerrymandered in the country.

Pennsylvania Congressional District Map Is Ruled Unconstitutional


The State Supreme Court’s order joins a string of court decisions striking down political maps for unduly favoring one party. The court ordered that a new map be submitted to it by Feb. 15.

President Trump spoke at a Heritage Foundation meeting in October.

Heritage Foundation Says Trump Has Embraced Two-Thirds of Its Agenda


The president, who has never been one to dwell on the details of governing, has shown considerable deference to conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation.

How Big a Deal Is a New Congressional Map for Pennsylvania?


Although Democrats will probably pick up a few additional seats in this year’s election, the development is less helpful for them than it might at first appear.

Because the bill to end the shutdown did not move through budget reconciliation, Republican leaders were allowed to include delays in health insurance taxes without worrying about their fiscal cost.

There’s a Surprise in the Government Funding Bill: More Tax Cuts


The deal struck by Democrats and Republicans on Monday to end a brief government shutdown contains $31 billion in tax cuts.

How Every Senator Voted on Ending the Government Shutdown


The Senate voted on Monday to keep the government open through Feb. 8.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Ben Domenech in The Federalist:
“The only rational explanation for this shutdown error was Democrats’ belief that President Trump would not be able to resist the urge to intervene and worsen the situation — either by making some base-splitting promise or saying something objectionable.”
Democrats made a tactical — though not all that unreasonable — mistake, Mr. Domenech says, by pinning the government shutdown on their hope for a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. The Democrats had hoped, he suggests, that President Trump would say or do something that would derail Republican unity on the issue.
Moreover, the party was hampered by a “distinct lack of clarity in what they are trying to do.” Only the “hard-core Democratic base” cares about protection for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and had the shutdown continued, “it could have damaged their ability to win over independents, who may be more susceptible to voting based on the country’s economic success heading into the midterms.” Read more »
From the Left
Tim Murphy in Mother Jones:
“In taking the deal, Democrats have drawn the wrath of a fired-up activist base that now feels betrayed.”
Mr. Murphy reports that liberal and immigration activists are furious about the Democrats’ “caving” on the shutdown. He quotes an unexpected critic, Ezra Levin, a founder of the anti-Trump group Indivisible: “There need to be repercussions for selling out Dreamers and broadly selling out progressive policy priorities like this.” Read more »
Read more selections »