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  • The very bad Continuing Resolution and how we got here.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on February 15th, 2019 (All posts by )

    We now have a a terrible non-compromise Continuing Resolution on border security. The Appropriations committee reported out HR31, the Continuing Resolution.

    The Homeland Security division of this bill upholds Democratic values and funds smart and effective border security including construction and screening technology at ports of entry, where most drugs illegally enter the country.

    The $1.375 billion it provides for border barriers is 76% less than the President demanded for a concrete wall, and critical protections are put in place for environmentally sensitive areas.

    Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, yet every Democrat and nearly every Republican who served on the conference committee to write this bill has signed it in support.

    Boilerplate. The real story is what was inserted in conference.

    two poison pills that I hope the Republican committee members either didn’t know about or didn’t understand.

    1. the bill allows the fencing to be built only in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in South Texas. It’s surely needed there, but real barriers are also needed elsewhere, such as the parts of the Arizona or New Mexico borders where there’s only vehicle fencing.

    But the Democrats had a reason for this limitation. The bill states:

    Prior to use of any funds made available by this Act for the construction of physical barriers within the city limits of any city or census designated place…Department of Homeland Security and the local elected officials of such a city or census designated place shall confer and seek to reach mutual agreement regarding the design and alignment of physical barriers within that city or the census designated place.

    In other words, local governments would have an effective veto over whether barriers would be constructed. And which party controls all local government in South Texas?

    2. The second poison pill is even worse. Section 224 states:

    None of the funds provided by this act…may be used by the Secretary of Homeland Security to place in detention, remove, refer for a decision whether to initiate removal proceedings, or initiate removal proceedings against a sponsor, potential sponsor, or member of a household of a sponsor or potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien child.

    In other words, this would mean that ICE cannot detain or remove anyone who has effectively any relationship with an “unaccompanied” minor — either because they’re sponsors, in the same household as sponsors, or even just “potential sponsors” (or in the household of potential sponsors!) of such a child.

    Why would Republicans let the wool be pulled over their eyes like this ? Maybe they did it on purpose.

    You know, a long time ago, I knew a guy who was a senior legislative staffer for a Republican congressman.

    He told me that Democrats routinely build traps and poison pills into bills. Sometimes, for example, they’ll pretend to concede a legal point to Republicans, but then they’ll deliberately write the law in such an aggressive way that they know a liberal interest group will challenge it as unconstitutional and easily win, because it was written to be unconstitutional.

    And thus, the “concession” granted by the Democrats disappears like morning mist, but the concessions granted by Republicans — usually about money — remain.

    The Democrats win it all.

    But you probably knew that. And that’s not the point I’m making.

    Here’s the point I’m making:

    I asked him why Republicans don’t take this crap out of bills — are they incompetent?

    “No,” he told me. “They know they’re in there. They want them there. They want the credit for having gotten what appears to be a conservative victory, but they’re actually liberal-leaning (or at least they fear a liberal backlash at home) and they want Democrats to ‘steal’ their victory away.”

    So anyway, this guy was always trying to take this garbage out of bills, and his Republican colleagues were fighting to keep this shit in.

    He told me this like 12, 13 years ago. He is who he says he is (his resume is genuine) and he never gave me reason to think he wasn’t generally honest.

    Nothing got done, aside from the tax cut, during the two years the GOP had a House majority. Why ?

    Rush Limbaugh thinks they expected Trump to be impeached and wanted to have nothing to do with him.

    I prefer Angelo Codevilla’s theory.

    Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job.

    Rush Limbaugh, as I write this, says he has not seen a report that Trump signed the CR. Hmmm.

     

    4 Responses to “The very bad Continuing Resolution and how we got here.”

    1. Grurray Says:

      I don’t think number 1 is a big deal breaker. Laredo is the location of this stretch of the border wall in question. They have seen the proverbial writing on the wall, and they decided to get ahead of the issue by proposing a compromise that turns the wall into a functional community gathering place. This part of the bill appears to be approval of the city’s plan.

      If done right, it might be a road map for future compromise.

      Number 2, on the other hand, is abhorrent. It seems to decriminalize child trafficking. This is a new low. Just disgusting.

    2. Mike K Says:

      Rush Limbaugh just announced that Trump did sing the CR,

    3. Brian Says:

      Duh, the Dems are in charge of the House, so you’re going to get crap bills passed now. The GOPe sandbagged Trump for 2 years and then sabotaged the midterms deliberately. It’s pointless to get too worked up about it, it is what it is.

      I don’t really understand number 2 to be honest–if they are with someone, they aren’t unaccompanied, no? So who is this protecting, exactly?

      But yes someone does need to push on the child trafficking aspect much harder. How do we know who these kids are? How do we know how old they are? Why are we incentivizing people to drag some random kid along?

    4. UncleMax Says:

      Well, here on the 16th, it’s clear he did sign it. I think the poison pills were deliberate. The GOP didn’t care they were in there. And after thinking about it, and kinda pissed about it, I think I found a silver lining. I imagine, that maybe, the President figured it’s better to fight next round on something else, but he’s going to push the advantage he has. So, emergency it is, and it’s off to the courts. But, I’m thinking 5 years from now, no one will be aching about the bitter pills Dems slip in , or the money still allocated to stuff conservatives hate… but we’ll have hundreds of miles of new wall in place… a President into his second term and I have to believe he will make great use of his lame duckness to do bold things. We’ll see. Right now, we’re in the muck of it all. I think in 12 months, much less 3 years, it’s going to look a lot better on the ground along the border.