"Early on in this debate, Democrats clearly laid out our principles," [Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer[ said. "At the end of the day, this is an agreement that reflects those principles."Democrats stressed that there is no money not only for a border wall, but also none for a deportation force, and they said there would be no cut in funding for so-called sanctuary cities.
When Congress passed a measure on Friday to prevent a government shutdown, it was a stopgap measure that kept the lights on for a week. Lawmakers were really just buying themselves a little time so they could finish a broader spending package that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.That deal came together last night, which is good news for those hoping to avoid a shutdown, but bad news for Donald Trump, who made specific requests for this budget agreement, each of which was largely ignored.
Trump presented Congress with a series of rather specific demands: public funding for the president's border wall, cutting off "sanctuary cities," scrapping funding for Planned Parenthood (which, full disclosure, my wife works for), reductions for the National Institutes of Health, deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, and no increases in non-defense domestic spending.From this wish list, what did the White House actually end up with? Nothing. The Washington Post noted, "Democrats are surprised by just how many concessions they extracted in the trillion-dollar deal, considering that Republicans have unified control of government."It's not a total loss for Team Trump. The spending bill includes more Pentagon spending, but less than the administration requested, and a $1.5 billion boost for border security, which is half of what the White House wanted, and none of which will be spent in ways Democrats oppose.Regardless, given the broader context, this should be seen as the latest Trump loss. We discussed in March that the president had put himself in an awkward position, making budget demands that Congress was likely to ignore, and that's precisely what happened. Democratic and Republican negotiators worked on an agreement that treated Trump's wishes as meaningless trivia -- which is easy to do with an unpopular president with little political capital, who's pushing unpopular ideas.Remember, we're supposed to believe Trump is a world-class negotiator, who knows how to strike deals that ostensibly work in his favor. And yet, we're now presented with still more evidence to the contrary.As for the road ahead, there are two things to watch. The first is this week: Congress will have to pass this bipartisan compromise by Friday, and though the agreement enjoys the grudging support of the GOP leadership, it'll be interesting to see just how many rank-and-file Republicans balk (and just how much GOP leaders have to rely on Democrats to pass the bill).The second thing to keep an eye on is the fall: Democrats are pleased with how this process unfolded, but this skirmish was over a spending bill that only covers four months of operations. Republicans are likely to fight far more aggressively in the fall, when Congress takes up spending for the next fiscal year.