Mitch McConnell thinks Democrats are very dumb

McConnell's empty promise, explained.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) went to the Senate floor on Sunday night and laid out his position on the government shutdown. Thus far, McConnell has rejected repeated overtures from Democrats to keep the government open for three or four more days while negotiations on the budget, health care and immigration continue.

Instead, McConnell said he wants a three week continuing resolution that will keep the government open through February 8. If, by that date, there is no agreement on immigration issues, McConnell now says it is his “intention” to take up separate legislation that would deal with DACA and “related issues.”

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Trump ended the DACA program, which provides legal protections to about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, in the fall. Providing a permanent fix for this group has been a key sticking point in negotiations to keep the government running.

There were more caveats. McConnell would only take up such legislation if Democrats agree to continue to provide votes for government funding prior to any immigration votes.

McConnell’s latest offer is little more than an empty promise.

The House has pointedly made no agreement to take up DACA legislation, even if it passes the Senate. If the House does not consider the legislation, it will have have no impact on the 800,000 young people whose lives are now in limbo.

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Further, McConnell made the exact same promise to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in December. He promised Flake that, in exchange for Flake’s support for the tax legislation, the Senate would take up a fix for DACA by the end of January.

McConnell’s December pledge also had a number of caveats and a month later, he seems to have forgotten all about it.

Finally, thousands of DACA recipients will begin to lose their legal protections in March. McConnell is not pledging to hold a vote on a fix for DACA at any time — only to take up the legislation. That could mean weeks or months of hearings or committee action with no actual votes.

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Nevertheless, McConnell’s new position does seem to be enough to satisfy Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) who voted against the first Republican plan for government funding.

One person who doesn’t seem to be convinced is Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Schumer objected to McConnell’s proposal to consider the February 8 continuing resolution at 10PM. Instead of waiting until 1AM, when McConnell could have held the vote without Schumer’s agreement, McConnell postponed the vote until Monday at noon.

At that time, the Republicans will need 60 votes for the legislation to move forward. Republicans currently control 51 seats.