After Senate Republicans partnered with the White House to kill a bipartisan compromise on immigration, Donald Trump tried to blame Democrats. Some of the GOP senators who helped craft the latest bipartisan deal – the most recent of several – have already said the president’s rhetoric isn’t true.
“I don’t think the president helped very much,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Capitol Hill reporters yesterday afternoon. “There’s probably 75 votes here for border security plus a pathway to citizenship for the DACA recipients, but you need presidential leadership. Without it, we won’t get there.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another one of the GOP co-sponsors of the bipartisan Rounds-King deal, expressed a similar sentiment, but she also raised an interesting point:
“I fear that you’ve got some within the White House that have not yet figured out that legislation almost by its very definition is a compromise product and compromise doesn’t mean getting four Republicans together and figuring out what it is that those four agree on, it is broader,” [Murkowski] said.
This is a good point, of course, which is more broadly applicable than some may realize.
When Republicans were trying to craft a health care proposal, they tried putting a small group of GOP leaders in a room until they had a blueprint they liked. Work with industry stakeholders? No. Get buy-in from throughout the conferences? No. Try some bipartisan outreach? Of course not.
Instead, to borrow Murkowski’s framing, party leaders decided the proper way to legislate in contemporary D.C. is to get a handful of Republicans together to figure out the health care ideas on which they agree. They then presented their plan – and told everyone to vote for it, without so much as a hearing.
When that didn’t work out, the party moved on to tax policy. On this issue, we saw six Republicans get together, behind closed doors, and figure out what tax ideas they all liked. They then presented their plan – and told everyone to vote for it, without so much as a hearing.
In other words, when Lisa Murkowski says there are some in her party who “have not yet figured out that legislation almost by its very definition is a compromise product and compromise doesn’t mean getting four Republicans together and figuring out what it is that those four agree on,” she’s being rather literal.
Current GOP leaders have a policymaking model. It doesn’t work.