Democrats have leverage over Paul Ryan

As they begin their retreat on Wednesday, a day before government funding expires, House Democrats are considering th...

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 11:15 AM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 11:15 AM

As they begin their retreat on Wednesday, a day before government funding expires, House Democrats are considering their options on the federal budget deal.

Do they give their support, given that there is increased funding for domestic issues like education and veterans affairs -- a major victory considering Republicans ordinarily want to cut federal spending? Or, do they oppose it until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan provides a guarantee for an open debate on the state of the Dreamers?

In an unusual and somewhat unprecedented move, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor on Wednesday for more than eight hours to read the stories of several Dreamers facing uncertainty about their futures. In other words, she highlighted how important the issue is to the Democratic Party.

At any other time, House Democrats would have taken a domestic spending victory and moved on. But for some, Congress not addressing the Dreamers for a second time in a funding bill, even one which includes some of their spending priorities, is giving them a pause.

I believe passing this bill -- to include domestic spending on issues Democrats care about -- and taking a government shutdown off the table will put the focus back squarely on the Dreamers. But it may require Ryan to give the same guarantee that Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave to the Senate Democrats: an open debate on legislation dealing with the Dreamers.

House Republicans are the majority and can pass any bill they desire, but they need House Democrats for an agreement that raises the funding levels on defense and domestic funding. With 238 Republicans in the House, Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows predicted that 90-100 Republicans would oppose the deal with increased budget caps, which would mean that at least 75-80 Democrats are needed to vote for the bill in order to get to the votes to pass it.

House Republicans already passed a partisan funding bill to kick the can down the road for more than a month. House Democrats opposed the GOP efforts because the bill did not address the Dreamers and funded defense for a full year, while only funding domestic priorities for a few weeks.

This was the first step in a choreographed legislative maneuver we have seen many times. Once the bill passed the House, it went to the Senate, which unveiled a bipartisan deal to lift the funding caps on both domestic and defense spending, without addressing the Dreamers. Specifically, the bill would boost military and nondefense spending by $300 billion over the next two years, with $160 billion to the Pentagon, $128 billion to nondefense programs and another $80 billion for disaster relief. The Senate bill is expected to go back to the House later this week.

Which returns us to the issue of whether enough Democrats in the House will vote for the Senate bill.

The dueling FBI memos, presidential tweets and stock market twists and turns have dominated every media platform -- as they did during the Republican retreat last week and may again during this week's Democratic retreat, where Democrats must establish their priorities and messaging for the rest of the year. But if there is a funding fight and a standoff, the news will shift. The media spotlight will shine on the House Democratic minority possibly withholding votes, the House Republican majority possibly unable to get the votes and the President likely tweeting about it all.

The devil is always in the details. Democrats have been pushing for a fair budget number that funds the domestic priorities they deeply care about, from education to housing to health care funding -- areas that the White House and Republican-controlled Congress seem not to care as much about.

If the details of a bipartisan agreement give Democrats what they have wanted, then enough Democrats could support the deal and continue to fight for Dreamers at every other legislative opportunity.

And if the Republican majority in the House cannot pass this bill on its own, then the GOP will have to make the choice to either provide the necessary assurances that the House will debate legislation dealing with Dreamers or allow the government to shut down once again and let the voters decide who is to blame.

This reinforces an important nuance that is lost on many outside of Washington, D.C. -- Democrats in Congress are a powerful part of the negotiating process and are able to secure legitimate legislative victories despite not controlling the House, the Senate or White House.

Stay tuned as the minority in the House considers how to use their leverage.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
Steuben300740
Adams291635
Ripley287145
Wabash286345
Whitley286324
Huntington278757
Putnam278046
Jasper274933
White262038
Daviess255671
Jefferson242738
Fayette239248
Decatur237382
Greene229259
Posey225626
Wells225146
LaGrange222061
Scott212837
Clay212432
Randolph204940
Jennings188635
Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
Jay160521
Fulton156829
Owen155536
Carroll150115
Orange146333
Rush145618
Vermillion141633
Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
Tipton126232
Pike111325
Blackford105122
Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
Crawford7229
Martin68013
Warren6427
Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
Unassigned0372

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
Lorain17563207
Mahoning16430334
Lake14941134
Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
Ottawa275534
Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
Champaign233727
Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
Paulding137521
Noble116138
Meigs99021
Monroe93827
Harrison8428
Morgan75826
Vinton64013
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Angola
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Huntington
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 24°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 19°
Lima
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 23°
Cloudy Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events