(CNSNews.com) – “The opportunity to end all of this is staring us in the face,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday, as he announced that the Senate will vote Thursday on President Trump’s “bold, comprehensive offer” to Democrats.
“All that needs to happen is Democrats agree it is time to put the country ahead of politics, take ‘yes’ for an answer, and vote to put this standoff behind us.”
McConnell said Trump’s proposal — money for a wall and other border security measures in exchange for a three-year extension of DACA and TPS — is “the only proposal that would reopen the government fully and immediately.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will introduce a second amendment that would temporarily re-open government until February 8, giving both sides time to negotiate border security while allowing federal workers to get paid.
It is doubtful that either measure will muster the necessary 60 votes to pass, however.
McConnell said that Trump’s proposal would fund ten “priority investments” identified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including enhanced surveillance technologies, funding for the recruitment and training of 750 new Border Patrol agents, and $5.7 billion for the construction of a physical barrier.
It also would give three more years of legal standing to DACA enrollees and foreigners with temporary protected status.
McConnell noted that such proposals have earned strong bipartisan support in the past.
“To reject this proposal, Democrats would have to prioritize political combat with the President ahead of federal workers, ahead of DACA recipients, ahead of border security, and ahead of stable and predictable government funding. Is that really a price that Democrats want to pay to prolong this episode, which they say they want to be over and done with?” he asked.
“Is their plan truly to throw federal workers, DACA recipients, Customs and Border Patrol, and indeed all Americans under the bus just to extend this run of political theater? So they can look like champions of the so-called ‘Resistance’?”
Some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rejected Trump’s proposal even before he announced it on Saturday afternoon.
“That’s not exactly surprising,” McConnell said, “considering that just a few weeks ago, the Speaker went way out on a limb and declared that physical border security is on its face, quote, ‘an immorality.’ But not every Democrat seems to see it that way,” McConnell noted, as he quoted various Democrats who have expressed support for border fencing.
“It is high time to get serious,” McConnell said.
He noted that even the Washington Post’s editorial board –“which is no fan of the president” — has criticized the Democrats’ outright refusal to negotiate. “If even the Washington Post believes my friends the Democratic leaders’ total refusal to negotiate has grown very stale, you have to believe many of their own members must be starting to feel the same way.
“The president has made a comprehensive and bipartisan offer that would accomplish everything Democrats have said needs to be accomplished right now. It’s a strong proposal. It’s the only thing on the table. And later this week, we will vote on it.”
Schumer, also speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, said President Trump’s proposal is “neither reasonable, nor a compromise. There was no serious negotiation with any Democrat about what went into the proposal,” Schumer said, ignoring the fact that Democrats have refused to negotiate border security, insisting that government open first.
Schumer said the Democrat plan would open government “without any decision, one way or the other, on border security.”
But it would open government long enough to give federal workers back pay.
“And it will allow us to then debate, without hostage-taking, without temper tantrum, without anything, how we can best do border security, get that done hopefully by February 8 and keep government open,” Schumer added.