Shutdown messaging war: ‘Illegal immigrants’ vs. Trump mayhem

As the government shutdown drama unfolds on Capitol Hill, Republicans and the White House keep pounding Democrats with a two-pronged argument: Democrats are supporting “illegal immigrants" — and they won’t negotiate with the minority party on that issue while the government remains closed, saying it would be tantamount to allowing hostage-taking.

So far, neither line of attack is working. Democrats showed little sign of budging on the first day after federal funding ran dry. But the rhetoric is growing ever more heated, as each side seeks to land on just the message that will allow them to prevail in the battle for public opinion.

The real challenge for Democrats, both sides suggest, will come Monday morning. If the government is still shut down, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will have to stay home from work and the true scale of the crisis will start to hit the American public, Continue reading “Shutdown messaging war: ‘Illegal immigrants’ vs. Trump mayhem”

No breakthrough on shutdown as both sides dig in

On the first full day of the government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats arrived at the Capitol to continue negotiations, but there was no indication of a quick resolution as each party pinned the crisis on the other.

Republicans are accusing Democrats of prioritizing “illegal immigrants" over American citizens by insisting that protections for young immigrants facing deportation be included in any spending deal. Legislation that the House passed but that the Senate blocked late Friday included six years of funding for health care for poor children.

Democrats say the situation is a product of President Donald Trump’s constantly shifting positions and chaotic leadership.

Further complicating a potential breakthrough: Republicans say they won’t negotiate on immigration while the government is shut down.

“I think it’s more difficult to get any agreement on DACA in a shutdown,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy while walking into a Saturday morning meeting with GOP Continue reading “No breakthrough on shutdown as both sides dig in”

Hoyer: Trump is a ‘racist’

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said President Donald Trump’s latest controversial comments about certain “shithole” countries make clear that he is a “racist.”

“If you use racist rhetoric, if you pursue policies based on a racial premise, I consider that to be a definition of a racist,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “I think the president articulates racist language and pursues policies based upon race.”

Hoyer is the latest Democrat to label Trump a racist following comments the president reportedly made asking why the U.S. let in so many immigrants from Haiti and African nations and not more from countries like Norway.

Trump made the remark during a White House meeting on a bipartisan Senate immigration deal last week. Trump rejected the deal and negotiators remain at odds over whether they will be able to reach an agreement to protect Dreamers before government funding runs out Continue reading “Hoyer: Trump is a ‘racist’”

Hoyer: Trump is a ‘racist’

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said President Donald Trump’s latest controversial comments about certain “shithole” countries make clear that he is a “racist.”

“If you use racist rhetoric, if you pursue policies based on a racial premise, I consider that to be a definition of a racist,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “I think the president articulates racist language and pursues policies based upon race.”

Hoyer is the latest Democrat to label Trump a racist following comments the president reportedly made asking why the U.S. let in so many immigrants from Haiti and African nations and not more from countries like Norway.

Trump made the remark during a White House meeting on a bipartisan Senate immigration deal last week. Trump rejected the deal and negotiators remain at odds over whether they will be able to reach an agreement to protect Dreamers before government funding runs out Continue reading “Hoyer: Trump is a ‘racist’”

Rash of retirements dim GOP hopes of keeping the House

A flurry of Republican retirements in recent weeks has further weakened the party’s hold on the House heading into the midterms — and the exodus probably isn’t over.

California GOP Reps. Darrell Issa and Ed Royce both bailed on their reelection campaigns in the past 48 hours, bringing the total of Republican-held open seats to a staggering 29 districts, a figure that includes lawmakers seeking higher offices. The Issa and Royce retirements open up seats that Hillary Clinton carried in the 2016 presidential race and will be more difficult — and expensive — for Republicans to defend, particularly if the party is swept under a Democratic wave.

“There’s no putting lipstick on that: They’re both competitive districts,” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in an interview Wednesday.

Stivers, who said he believes the party will keep control of the House, still cautioned that more Continue reading “Rash of retirements dim GOP hopes of keeping the House”

California Republican Darrell Issa to retire

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will not seek reelection, he announced Wednesday — the latest sign of a growing Democratic wave in this year’s midterm elections.

Issa, first elected in 2000, served as the House GOP’s chief interrogator of the Obama administration as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee earlier this decade. But the political environment in his Southern California district shifted rapidly in recent years: Issa only won reelection by just over 1,600 votes in 2016, while Hillary Clinton carried the traditionally Republican seat in the presidential election by 7 percentage points.

Republicans: Budget deal prospects are dimming

Congressional Republicans and White House officials are increasingly skeptical that they’ll reach a long-term budget agreement with Democrats in the next 11 days, accusing progressives of slow-walking a spending deal until they get what they want on immigration.

Party leaders from both sides of the aisle have been quietly working to raise stiff spending caps to avert a government shutdown before Jan. 19, when federal agency funding runs dry.

But Republicans claim Democrats won’t back a long-term spending plan until Congress agrees to shield hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave safe harbor to “Dreamers,” formally ends March 5 — although some immigrants have already started losing their protections.

Yet Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on border security and other immigration provisions that would be needed to clinch a deal on the matter.

That means Republicans Continue reading “Republicans: Budget deal prospects are dimming”