NY-22 Minute: Brindisi Views Trump's Shutdown Proposal as "Golden Opportunity" By Luke Perry
Anthony Brindisi recently met with President Trump to discuss the government shutdown as a new member of the Problem Solvers Caucus. “My goal is to get the government up and running,” Brindisi stated, “then we have to have serious discussions about border security. As long as the government is closed, I think our security, safety and economy are at risk.”
Brindisi agrees with President Trump that the situation at the U.S./Mexican border has reached a “dangerous level” and the U.S. has to have “strong borders.” After meeting with the president, Brindisi stated that Trump has “strong beliefs” but also “wants to find a way through the shutdown.”
Brindisi stated on Tuesday, during his first telephone townhall, that “I have broken with my party on these issues” and that “securing the border is a matter of keeping upstate New York families safe.” Brindisi called for combining a targeted physical barrier, where local experts and law enforcement believed that would be helpful, with investments in more border agents and technology that address related security concerns, such as insufficient examination of trucks and boats entering the country.
This echoes Brindisi’s previous support for “structural enhancements,” including “some element of a physical barrier as part of an overall package on border security” to ensure “we’re not allowing dangerous people into the country.” This also reflects Brindisi’s sentiments on the campaign trail, when he supported “funding for a border wall as long as it’s part of a package on comprehensive immigration reform.” Congress will eventually fund the government, though comprehensive immigration reform is unlikely.
Brindisi believes there is now a “golden opportunity” (25:39 mark) following President Trump’s proposal on Saturday, which coupled increased border spending ($5.7 billion) with temporarily extending protections related to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) that would suspend deportations for approximately 700,000 “dreamers” and 325,000 immigrants who have fled natural disasters or violent conflicts.
Brindisi believes there is an opening for negotiation and encouraged Democratic leadership to make a counteroffer to the president and “see if we can meet somewhere in the middle.” Brindisi said that a “permanent solution for DACA and TPS” is “something we should be seriously looking at.”
Brindisi also believes that he and Representative John Katko (R, NY-24) are on the same page with this issue. Katko unsuccessfully pursued immigration reform last fall and criticized the president and the House Freedom Caucus for ineffective leadership and not bargaining in good faith.
One component of Brindisi’s political base, liberal grassroots organizations, expressed skepticism toward this approach. Sarah Reeske, a grassroots organizer for Indivisible and Knit the District, does not support Brindisi’s participation in the Problem Solvers Caucus because the group “has been ineffective at producing any legislative solutions” and “is tied to dark money.” Reeske is also concerned the caucus provides political cover for Republican House members in the region, such as John Katko, who she believes is a “faux moderate” that serves as a “rubber stamp” for President Trump.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on government spending bills later today. These are not expected to pass, but depending on the vote tallies for Republicans and Democrats, may lead to further negotiation and future votes.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College
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