Sound Off! Rebukes of Trump Fueling Bipartisanship By Luke Perry
Who can bring Republicans and Democrats together in working for bipartisan legislation during this moment of extraordinary polarization? President Trump, apparently, even though that is not his intention.
Last month Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed to work together on healthcare. This came after President Trump celebrated the passage of The American Healthcare Act in the House, only to watch the dramatic failure of Republican-led repeal and replace efforts in the Senate. Republicans controlled enough seats to make this happen, but could not coalesce around Trump’s vision and/or Leader McConnell’s parliamentary maneuvering.
The Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House then developed a proposal for stabilizing insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. Meanwhile, Lamar Alexander (TN, R) and Patty Murray (WA, D), the Chairs of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, shared their desire to hold hearings and introduce legislation to lower premiums and prompt insurers to sell policies in ACA marketplaces. These hearings began today.
Today President Trump announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. If Congress does not intervene, nearly 800,000 people who have lived in the U.S. since childhood will be subject to deportation.
In a written statement, Trump stated there is “no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will.” New DACA applications will no longer be accepted effective immediately.
In the face of criticism from Democrats and Republicans, Trump stated that he has “love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.” The president reportedly wrestled with the issue for months. The six-month delay reflects his “internal paralysis” and “in effect deciding not to be the one who decides- at least for now.”
In response, Senators Dick Durbin (IL, D) and Lindsey Graham (SC, R), members of the Judiciary Committee, began urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a bill first introduced in 2001 to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children who grew up in the United States. Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan has called for a “permanent legislative solution that that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.”
It remains to be seen what will come of these movements toward bipartisanship on healthcare and immigration. We may be witnessing the beginnings of an early pattern of both parties rebuking President Trump’s leadership. If so, this could have significant consequences for Trump’s presidency, party politics, and national elections. It's hard to envision how any presidency can thrive with the party in power divided over its competency.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College. His column Sound Off! critiques various aspects of presidential politics.