Just moments after Senate democrats reversed, and voted through a stopgap government funding bill – one which they rejected on Friday night forcing a brief, 3-day government shutdown, and which keeps the government running until February 8 – progressives started hammering Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer over his negotiating tactics and his agreement with Senate Republican leadership to end the government shutdown on Monday.
Even Nancy Pelosi has spoken out against the deal, saying there was no reason to support it: “I don’t see that there’s any reason – I’m speaking personally and hearing from my members – to support what was put forth,” Pelosi said at a press briefing shortly before Schumer signaled Senate Democrats would agree to it.
Progressive activists were much harsher.
“It’s official: Chuck Schumer is the worst negotiator in Washington – even worse than Trump,” said Murshed Zaheed, political director at CREDO, a progressive advocacy group, quoted by The Hill.
“Any plan to protect Dreamers that relies on the word of serial liars like [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.], [House Speaker] Paul Ryan [R-Wisc.] or Donald Trump is doomed to fail,” Zaheed added.
As described earlier, Schumer and McConnell brokered a deal to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until Feb. 8 in exchange nothing but a vague promise for a compromise from Senate Republican leadership to hold a vote on DACA-replacement legislation by that date.
Activists were infuriated at the deal, as it includes no guarantees that a bill will pass — nor does it tie an immigration bill to a must-pass measure to give Democrats leverage. The agreement also includes no guarantees that a potential Senate agreement on DACA could see a vote in the House.
“Today’s cave by Senate Democrats — led by weak-kneed, right-of-center Democrats — is why people don’t believe the Democratic Party stands for anything,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “These weak Democrats hurt the party brand for everyone and make it harder to elect Democrats everywhere in 2018.”
Finding himself in the same position that the GOP was in in 2013, Schumer faced pressure to reach a deal from members of his caucus worried that the shutdown would hurt the party. Five Democrats had voted in favor of a House bill to keep the government open for a month.
Prior to Monday’s vote, a slew of progressive activists held a call pushing Democrats to demand a DACA deal in exchange for reopening the government.
“We’ve seen a number of promises from McConnell to his party members on [the Affordable Care Act] and the Dream Act,” said Greisa Martinez, advocacy and policy director at United We Dream. “Promises are not results, promises are not protections,” she added, referencing unfulfilled commitments on immigration and healthcare made by McConnell to Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), in exchange for their votes on tax reform.
Naturally, Democratic Senators with 2020 presidential aspirations also came out against the agreement.
“The Majority Leader’s comments last night fell far short of the ironclad guarantee I needed to support a stopgap spending bill,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) “I refuse to put the lives of nearly 700,000 young people in the hands of someone who has repeatedly gone back on his word. I will do everything in my power to continue to protect Dreamers from deportation.”
Sens. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand – some of the most vocal members of the Trump “resistance” – all voted against closing debate on the agreement.