It took a hurricane of biblical proportions, with a second even larger storm looming off the coast, but the Trump Administration finally passed a piece of legislation. Of course, the president did have to partner up with unlikely Democratic allies, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, to broker the deal for a $15 billion dollar down payment for Hurricane Harvey relief.
While Harvey’s destruction dominated the 24-hour news cycle, and Irma blasted through the tropics, the president resorted to good old-fashion horse trading to cut a deal extending the debt ceiling for three months in return for hurricane relief.
Predictably, numerous Republicans lost their minds. House Speaker Paul Ryan described the deal as “disgraceful.” Ninety Republican Congressmen, including Texans Joe Barton, Jeb Hensarling, Mac Thornberry and Sam Johnson, voted against the bill.
Similarly, Democratic activists attacked Pelosi and Schumer for failing to tie protection for 800,000 “Dreamers” facing deportation from Trump’s threat to rescind DACA to the hurricane relief package. Pro-immigration Democrat Congressmen Luis Gutierrez accused fellow Democrats of “collaborating” with Republicans, as if the idea of our elected officials working together was somehow unnatural.
To those 90 Republican Congressmen, including the four Texans, and to Democrats like Luis Gutierrez, I say get over yourselves, wake up and smell the coffee, or just start looking for a new line of work.
The reality is the adage about the sausage-making nature of legislation is spot on. I am the last person to defend Trump and still believe he is a pompous narcissist, but he is the duly elected president. Literally, for the first time since Inauguration Day, I woke up with hope that we might finally get some semblance of functionality from the president and Congress.
We are a country of Americans — not Republicans and Democrats. We all have to deal with radical terrorists, the mad dictator from North Korea, broken health care, monster hurricanes and an even more monstrous federal deficit. It is a sure sign that this stupid war between Republicans and Democrats is out of control if we can’t even broker a simple compromise to extend the debt ceiling and start hurricane relief.
The good news is the odd trio of Trump, Schumer and Pelosi are shrugging off criticism from entrenched radicals of both parties and at least discussing additional compromises on DACA and border security. Maybe with both parties actually negotiating compromises like real elected officials we will see meaningful tax reform, health care reform and rational strategies for addressing ISIS and North Korea.
I am certainly not suggesting that we should all break out in a chorus of “Kumbaya.” Republicans and Democrats can still fight like cats and dogs — as long as they keep working. But to the radical fringe elements of both parties, I say if we continue down the pre-Harvey path the only winners will be incumbent politicians, special interests and radical terrorists. To everyone else if you want to know who the losers will be — well just look in the mirror.