As I See It
By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO
President Donald Trump signed a bill into law reopening the government in three weeks, i.e. up to February 15, without getting funding for his border wall.
This is a sign of clear executive function setting aside his personal wish of a border wall… not a cave which most people think. He acted as president of the United States of America!
It was also a sign of honest-to-goodness legislative function on the part of the Democrats and Republicans, especially for those six Republicans who crossed lines to pass the bill, siding with the Democrats on a compromised bill the President signed to temporarily break the impasse of a shutdown.
They set-aside their personal interests and thought of the some 800, 000 federal employees who were directly affected by the temporary shutdown and an equal number of employees who were indirectly affected by the shutdown. This kind of gesture is what we need to prevail in the next three weeks.
It might be construed as a victory for the Democrats or the legislators in general. That’s true! They were victorious in moving president Trump to sign the bill to reopen the government. This is the kind of atmosphere, the kind of pressure that will really prod Mr. Trump to act as a duly elected president of the United States!
Congressional negotiators have up to February 15 to strike a deal that President Trump will sign that will finally resolve the border wall problem. A lot of speculations are circulating around saying that he will not sign one if it does not contain his demand of $5.7 B for physical wall in the southern border of US and Mexico.
As I see it, if both the Democrats and the Republicans continue their function as legislators, just like what they did to reopen the government, not as party members, without reference to what the President wants, the latter I think will sign whatever deal they agreed. He will sign it because he can see the unity of the legislators for the best interest of the nation, not for a certain individual or party. He acted this way in the three instances where he saw the merits of the situations (postponing his SOTU address based on the letter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi until the shutdown is lifted, not delivering SOTU in any alternate site except Congress, and the bill he signed to break the shutdown without border money).
Okay, what are possible scenarios the Gang of 17 will present to President Trump? First, I would like to see security funding of even more than $5.7 B that will take care of not only physical wall but related security measures to make sure the country is safe. This is a compromise deal where the President can get his wall funding while the legislators can get their other security concerns in exchange of permanent road to citizenship by DACA residents. Maybe, TPS (Temporary Protective Status) will remain temporary as pointed out by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Democrats are against the $5.7 B physical wall funding but if Trump will agree to make a detailed expenditures on how the money is spent, perhaps the legislators will forward a second scenario of funding his wall in exchange of permanent status of both DACA and TPS recipients, among others.
The third option, honestly I don’t know how it will be constituted, but definitely it will be revolving around compromises in the border wall and road to citizenship in various degrees.
Again, I would say the Gang of 17 needs to act as legislators without consideration of what Trump wants but consider the options we just pointed out. This way, it is a legislative compromise not a compromise by Democrats and Republicans. It’s really hard to figure this out but that’s the only way Trump will be able to act as an executive, not as a GOP member, in signing the bill as a result of a compromised deal.
Hypothetical? No, it worked last time… it should work again this time!
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, now a US senator and one of the six Republicans who sided with the Democrats said another shutdown is not in the interest of the people and a state of emergency is not advisable either. So he is saying that the legislators need to work together with Trump to be able to resolve the issues.
There’s so much politics around that the American people is already feed up. We need real government actions not tainted by politics. This, I think, is easier said than done considering that the 2020 election is just around the corner. But surely, it can be done!
Let’s face it, President Trump is optimistic that the newly formed Group of 17 lawmakers will be able to come up with an acceptable compromise before the next funding will lapse in three weeks. “I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” he said when asked in an interview if the group will be able to come up with an acceptable bill.
This suggests that there is a big chance that Trump will sign the deal for as long as the 17 lawmakers will act as legislators for the good of the people crafting a long-term deal of border security and a broader immigration issues. I think he will be constrained to sign it, just like the temporary bill he signed into law which ended the partial government shutdown.
Seven of the 17 are senators, 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats and there are 10 House lawmakers, which include 6 Democrats and 4 Republicans.
That’s the composition of the Group of 17 who were tasked to craft a deal to permanently settle the issues.
Besides, now that the legislators know that Trump is willing to bend for the sake of the people, there’s no reason why they will not be able to strike a deal he will gladly sign.
Knowing, however Trump’s temperament, there is no guarantee he will sign it. But… at least we know of some parameters that will somehow approximate his positivity and chance of liking. We just hope that he will, in good conscience, agree on the compromised bill the Group of 17 will pass and which he sign it into law.
Will this finally end the border issue and put to rest other issues related to government shutdown? I’m sure the Group of 17 will be creative and innovative enough to strike a compromise bill Trump will sign!
Let’s hope for the best!
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