Why are Ryan and McConnell more concerned about making Schumer happy than Trump?
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“Why are Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Soaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington MORE and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic field narrows with Inslee exit McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE more worried about accommodating Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE than accommodating me?” That must be the question on President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE’s mind as he ponders the latest news on the negotiations over the spending bill that must pass before April 28 to keep the government open.

After all, it was Trump who won the 2016 election, not Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces DHS cyber agency to prioritize election security, Chinese threats ABC chose a debate moderator who hates Trump MORE. So why does the emerging spending bill not include funding for Trump’s priorities, and instead look like something a GOP Congress would have passed had Clinton won?

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Scholars and analysts will be offering competing theories for years to explain Trump’s victory. FBI Director Comey’s intervention caused her loss, say Clinton partisans; Trump was simply a better candidate for the times, counter Republicans. But one thing all can agree on is the simple fact that Trump’s candidacy was successful because he took advantage of a deep-seated demand among a large segment of the public to shake things up in Washington. Too many voters were tired of the same old, same old, and they were willing to take a chance to put in power the first candidate in memory who looked like he could actually follow through on that desire for change.

 

And on the issues front, the issue most identified with Trump – and which was responsible in large measure for pulling blue-collar Democrats in the upper Midwest (read: the voters who propelled Trump to victory) across party lines – was tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

Congressional leaders who don’t understand and act on that run the risk of losing their leadership privileges.

At issue in the negotiations over the spending bill is President Trump’s determination to keep the promise he made regarding tougher enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, a central element of his “America First” program. He said he wanted to build a wall along the nation’s southern border, and he said so-called “sanctuary cities” should lose federal funding.

But Senate Democrats oppose funding for the border wall, and oppose efforts to cut off federal funds for “sanctuary cities.” And for some reason, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seems to think he’s got the whip hand in the ongoing negotiations. With a 48-vote minority, he can’t pass anything on his own, but he has enough power to filibuster the spending bill, and prevent an up-or-down vote on the underlying bill.

Thus, Schumer’s threat to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – leave out funding for the border wall and a provision cutting off federal funds for “sanctuary cities,” or he’ll filibuster. And then the government will shut down, and Republicans will get the blame.

Schumer’s threat appears to be enough to have convinced Ryan and McConnell to back off, and to tell the president he can’t have what he wants.

That’s wrong.

For years under then-President Obama, the congressional GOP leadership regularly caved to White House demands. “He has the veto pen, and the bully pulpit of the White House,” they would say, offering an excuse, “what can we do?”

But now Republicans control the White House. Now it’s a Republican president who has the bully pulpit, and the veto pen. So what’s their excuse now? Why is the Senate Minority Leader more to be feared than the president? Why do Schumer’s political wishes trump the president’s?

Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocratic governors fizzle in presidential race Obamas reportedly buying Martha's Vineyard mansion Trump has 62 percent disapproval rating in new AP poll MORE insisted on funding for ObamaCare in the fall of 2013, and declared he would veto a funding bill that didn’t include funds for his pet program. Congressional GOP leaders backed down and gave him what he wanted – funding for a law that more than half the country opposed.

If President Trump succumbs to the thinking of some around him – “don’t pick a fight with Schumer, let’s make nice with the Democrats” – he’ll never get his agenda enacted. Because Chuck Schumer doesn’t want the same things Donald Trump wants. Schumer wouldn’t see an accommodation on this front as a compromise; he’d see it as a victory. He’d pocket it, and know he can roll the president the next time he needs to. And then we’d have four years of the tail wagging the dog, a Senate Minority Leader deciding what the nation’s president can and cannot achieve.

The good news is, the president has smart people around him. White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsA better way to run the Federal Bureau of Prisons Trump admin erases key environmental enforcement tool DOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda MORE, and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, among others, are committed supporters of the president’s America First agenda. When they insist on tougher immigration enforcement, they know they’re speaking to and for the cross-party coalition responsible for Trump’s victory.

Let’s hope the president remembers who got him into the White House in the first place, and why he was elected. As long as he remembers that, he’ll be in good shape – and so will the country.

Jenny Beth Martin (@JennyBethM) is co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.