As we catch our breath and wait for the next budget crisis, it’s useful to reflect on how we got to the January temporary shutdown.
The process started last September when President Trump revoked President Obama’s executive order that protected the “Dreamers” from deportation. However, Trump offered no guidance about what he wanted to happen next and simply instructed Congress to deal with the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) issue by March 2018.
Fast forward to Jan. 9, when Trump presided over a meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers still seeking a solution for the DACA issue, which was now central to a budget deal. At the meeting, Trump indicated that he would sign any immigration bill Congress would send him, saying, “I’ll take the heat. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’ll take all the heat you want to give me, and I’ll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.”
On Jan. 11, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin presented President Trump with a bipartisan immigration bill. Trump vehemently rejected the bill, contrary to his earlier promise. He then went on to criticize the bill with disparaging language.
Subsequent to the meeting, congressional lawmakers were still unsure as to what Trump wanted. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign.”
Lacking an agreement on DACA, the government was shut down on Jan. 19, only to reopen on Jan. 22 after a three-week stopgap spending bill was passed. On Jan. 25, Trump offered a new immigration proposal — stay tuned.