Politics

Trump’s dalliances with Hill Dems? It’s all in the numbers


Numbers are an immutable constant on Capitol Hill, like how many lawmakers vote yea or nay on an issue. And they help explain President Trump’s recent dalliances with Democrats on immigration and fiscal policies including  the recent deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Numbers are an immutable constant on Capitol Hill.

How many lawmakers vote yea or nay on an issue. How many can come together for an amendment. How many want to defund a certain program.

Numbers help explain President Trump’s recent dalliances with Democrats on immigration policy — along with a package to avoid a government shutdown, fund hurricane relief efforts and suspend the debt ceiling.

Here are the important digits:

217-213. 17. 90

The first cipher is the tally in May on the health care bill approved by the House. Flip two votes and the measure fails due to a tie. Twenty Republicans voted nay. That’s a narrow margin.

Seventeen represents the number of Senate Republicans who opposed the government funding/hurricane aid/debt ceiling bill. With a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, the GOP clearly required Democratic assistance.

Ninety represents the number of Republicans who cast nay ballots against the same trio package in the House. Only 133 Republicans voted yea compared to 183 Democrats.

Numerous congressional Republicans simply won’t vote for much of anything. The House GOP leadership and the Trump administration went to hell and back to finally craft an ObamaCare repeal-and-replacement package, which barely squeaked through the House.

Yet Trump and congressional Republicans have yet to ditch ObamaCare for something else. And so, if you’re the president, what are you left with?

“This president doesn’t have any choice but to turn and listen to Democrats to get something done,” said Rep. Lou Barletta. R-Pa., one of Trump’s most ardent and earliest House supporters. “He’s doing what everyone claims that’s what they want him to do.”

That is, work in a bipartisan fashion.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., says the president’s approach should surprise no one.

“We all knew his dealings here (on Capitol Hill) would be somewhat unorthodox,” said Corker, who huddled with Trump in a one-on-one meeting Friday. “There are going to be more issues where Democrats can deliver the votes.”

Plain and simple.

Trump may be thinking about 2020. It’s closer than you think. Republican congressional allies have delivered very little for the president when it comes to big items, save the installation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The president has also pistol-whipped House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on various occasions.

“They have been strong partners with us,” said White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short of Ryan and McConnell recently at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. “They have been terrific allies on tax reform. The regulatory front. I don’t know who could do it better than Mitch McConnell did.”

Maybe so for McConnell when it came to altering Senate precedent to muscle Gorsuch to confirmation. But the health care debacle really exasperated the president.

Trump faced a government shutdown and a potential debt-ceiling crisis had it not been for Democrats.

So when it comes to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and a permanent solution for persons brought to the United States by their parents when they were young, the president sees one way to avoid a catastrophe.

“I don’t think this surprises anyone but (Iowa GOP Rep.) Steve King,” Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said about the president’s maneuver.

Simpson was referring to a tweet by King after Trump dined with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a few nights ago and supposedly crafted a bargain on DACA.

“Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible,” King declared on Twitter after word came there was a “deal” between the president and the Democratic brass.

Nobody is truly sure what the leaders agreed to other than to address DACA.

The president is still insisting on a border wall. Many Democrats want a straight, up-or-down vote on the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for…



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