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Another judge rules Trump’s border wall funding “unlawful”

Westlake Legal Group t-10 Another judge rules Trump’s border wall funding “unlawful” The Blog Texas Mexico. border wall funding donald trump Border wall

This all sounds naggingly familiar. The President’s team works on reallocating funding to continue construction work on the southern border wall by the military. Someone gets angry about this and goes to court. They find a sympathetic judge who rules against the President. I thought summer was the season for reruns? (National Review)

Another federal judge ruled against President Trump’s use of a “national emergency” declaration to divert funds for the construction of a border wall on Friday, finding the use of an emergency proclamation “unlawful” because it violated a Congressional budgeting measure from January.

“The Congressional language in the [bill] reveals Congress’s intent to limit the border barrier funding,” wrote Judge David Briones, who was appointed to the federal District Court for the Western District of Texas by former President Bill Clinton.

We’ve already been through this. One judge already tried to block the appropriation of the funds and the Supreme Court put that judgment aside this summer.

A lot of this is going to sound familiar. The judge in the case, David Briones, is a Clinton appointee. The plaintiffs are the County of El Paso, Texas and Border Network for Human Rights. If you follow many of these cases you might be wondering how either of these entities established standing to bring a lawsuit over the disbursement of federal funds. Good question.

El Paso County claimed to have standing on the grounds that they suffered harm from the decision to continue border barrier construction work. What sort of harm? Damage to their reputation as a county. And they convinced the judge to agree. He wrote that El Paso County had suffered “an injury to its reputation and has had to take affirmative steps to avoid harm.”

The remedy that the plaintiffs are seeking in the form of an injunction appears to be built on shaky ground as well. They claim that the President’s declaration of a national emergency on the border was invalid because it failed to meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency.” But the definitions there are so sweeping that virtually anything could apply. The President is only required to specify the provisions so activated and notify Congress.

That’s all been done, and Congress has previously established more than 130 different types of emergency actions that are available, leaving room for improvisation when needed. Oh, and just as a bonus, one of them is “authorizing and constructing military construction projects” under Title 10.

Meanwhile, construction continues apace, despite worries about bulldozers running down some cactuses. This one will go through the appeals process like the rest and it would be surprising if the ending were to be any different.

The post Another judge rules Trump’s border wall funding “unlawful” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Don’t look now, but there’s more border wall news

Westlake Legal Group border-wall Don’t look now, but there’s more border wall news The Blog military Mexico. border wall Mexico funding construction Border wall

I’m sure you’ve seen the gloating headlines about border wall construction in the media from liberal outlets recently. A few days ago, Axios crowed that “not a single mile has been built where no barrier existed before.” Last week the WaPo declared that “Trump’s border wall is now a monument to his failure.” So I guess that about wraps it up, eh? No wall for you, Mr. President.

Except that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, construction is gearing up in multiple locations already. More on this from the Associated Press.

South of Yuma, Arizona, the tall brown bollards rising against a cloudless desert sky will replace much shorter barriers that are meant to keep out cars, but not people.

This 5-mile (8-kilometer) section of fencing is where President Donald Trump’s most salient campaign promise — to build a wall along the entire southern border — is taking shape.

The president and his administration said this week that they plan on building between 450 and 500 miles (724 and 806 kilometers) of fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile (3,218-kilometer) border by the end of 2020, an ambitious undertaking funded by billions of defense dollars that had been earmarked for things like military base schools, target ranges and maintenance facilities.

I agree with the AP report saying that 450 to 500 miles of the border wall by next year is “ambitious” (to say the least), but it’s not impossible. And as long as the new construction is focused on the areas where the most illegal traffic is crossing the border, it will make a significant difference. (We’re already seeing measurable decreases in crossings thanks to help from Mexico, but we still need a significant barrier to really drive those numbers down.)

The trick that’s being used by Axios, the Washington Post, and others to claim that there’s no “new wall” being built is that they add on a caveat in the fine print. They specify “where no previous barrier existed before.” But that’s a distinction without any real meaning. Take the stretch of bollard barrier going up in Yuma for example. Yes, there was technically a “barrier” there before, but it was a barrier to stop vehicles from driving over You can walk right through there with little more than a hop. A child could do it.

What it’s being replaced with is a series of 30-foot tall steel bollards. And it’s not just a wall, by the way. As the Washington Examiner reported earlier this week, it’s actually a “border system.” It includes improved lighting and electronic surveillance to detect attempted crossings, allowing law enforcement to be quickly dispatched to the scene. Yes, it’s taken a while to pull this all together and the Democrats’ stonewalling on funding certainly didn’t help, but it looks like we’re finally making progress.

What continues to amaze me is the desperation among Democrats and their media allies to prevent this from happening. Either you believe that we have immigration laws for a reason or you don’t. And if they really don’t support open borders (as many of them try to claim), why would you object to a wall, fence or barrier that helps control the flow of people?

The answer? Because it was the Bad Orange Man’s idea. That’s why.

The post Don’t look now, but there’s more border wall news appeared first on Hot Air.

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DCA and IAD among more than 300 airports to receive funding for improvements

Westlake Legal Group airports-reconstruction DCA and IAD among more than 300 airports to receive funding for improvements travel reconstruction News & Updates National IAD funding flights DCA airports airplane
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At the end of June, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced both Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International will receive millions in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The funding, amounting to about $11.6 million in total, is part of the FAA’s Airport Investment Program, which is a grant program that funds airport development projects to strengthen the nation’s aviation infrastructure. The collective funding granted in 2019 reaches $495 million and will be distributed on an as-need basis to over 300 airports in the United States.

According to the FAA’s most recent economic analysis conducted in 2014, civil aviation in the U.S. accounts for $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs. In Virginia and the District, the economic earnings reach nearly $5 million in total and support about 132 thousand jobs.

Reagan is set to receive $4.9 million to reconstruct airport aprons where aircrafts are packed, loaded, refueled and boarded, while Dulles will receive $6.7 million for reconstruction of an aircraft taxi lane between terminals, according to Athena W. Hernandez of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

While a timeline, as well as what to expect of closures for the planned construction has yet to be announced, we will update readers as soon as information is released.

Want to stay up to date on all news affecting travel in the region? Subscribe to our semimonthly travel newsletter. 

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Bank of America ends funding for companies running detention centers

Westlake Legal Group 0c30c30d-98f4-4cc7-a804-dae30657b554 Bank of America ends funding for companies running detention centers The Blog Illegal Immigration funding detention centers bank of america

The nation’s second-largest bank decided to stop lending money to companies that run private prisons and detention centers. Bank of America (BOA) will do so after meeting contractual obligations now in effect.

“We have decided to exit the relationship’’ with companies that provide prison and immigration-detention services, Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said Wednesday in an interview. “We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we’ve made.’’

The move followed a review by the bank’s environmental, social and governance, or ESG, committee, which included site visits and consultation with clients, civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts and academics. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender also met with its internal Hispanic and black leaders.

In other words, another major corporation caved to the open borders crowd. It will probably not be a surprise that the two largest private prison companies saw their stocks fall by more than 4% after the announcement was made. A spokesman for one of the companies, CoreCivic, said that the company was misrepresented and the decision is all about politics.

“We care deeply about doing business in an ethical, responsible way,” he said in an emailed statement. “This was clearly not a fair, transparent and genuine dialogue about corrections and detention.”

Bank of America is following in the footsteps of JPMorgan Chase & Company and Wells Fargo & Company. Elizabeth Warren tweeted last week that she has a plan to get rid of private prison companies. BOA’s Finucane admits it’s a political move. “The broader issues are the need for reforms in the criminal justice system and immigration.”

While the companies run centers on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they’ve said they don’t operate facilities that house unaccompanied minors. Detention centers have become a flash point in recent weeks amid reports of substandard conditions at facilities for migrant children. Warren also criticized Caliburn International Corp. for profiting off what she called the Trump administration’s “inhumane” immigration policies.

“The GEO Group has never managed any facilities that house unaccompanied minors, nor have we ever managed border patrol holding facilities,” GEO Group Chief Executive Officer George C. Zoley said in a statement.

This decision by BOA falls in line with the moment during the second Democrat debate Thursday when all of the candidates on stage raised their hand in approval when asked if entering the United States without papers should be a civil, not a criminal offense. They have demagogued the detention of illegal aliens. Remember Beto O’Rourke’s involvement in the closing of the Tornillo facility for unaccompanied minors, mostly teenagers? I wrote about that in January. There is never an alternative to providing shelters or even tent cities for the detainees offered up by the critics. The Democrats want an open southern border and no enforcement of immigration laws. This is particularly unfortunate with the ever-growing humanitarian crisis on the border.

For BOA, the decision process began in April during its annual meeting. Activists demanded the company put an end to funding private prisons and detention centers. The activists are pleased with themselves because, you know, Orange Man bad.

On Wednesday, Bank of America did exactly that, distancing itself from a sector that has triggered protests over its links to the Trump administration’s immigration policy and concerns about detention center conditions. Hector Vaca, one of the activists at the April annual meeting, declared victory.

Next, he hopes to get SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N) to cut ties with private prisons. SunTrust did not respond to a request for comment.

In the past, companies had the luxury of taking a wait and see approach to demands of political activists. In Trump’s America, that is no longer an option. Now political activists can stir up the outrage machine on social media immediately and companies are overwhelmed by the attacks. So, they cave.

The rise in activism accompanies a surge in ESG investing, or investing based on environmental, social and governance factors. Morningstar estimates funds that invest according to non-economic guidelines managed $1.2 trillion at the end of last year.

It has prompted companies to disclose more about how, and with whom, they do business and tackle issues they might have tried to evade in the past.

The corporate world is changing with the rise of millennials in the work force. Personal politics of employees and investors is placed above practical solutions.

“Historically, we’ve relied on companies to tell us about their ESG performance, but that doesn’t work anymore,” said Witold Henisz, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Younger generations, investors themselves and equipped with more access than ever to information about companies, are at the forefront of a more transparent, activism-fueled corporate universe, he said, stressing the importance of data when it comes to ESG investing.

Millennials are “even willing to take lower wages if they feel like a company has a strong social purpose,” Henisz said.

Here’s a closing question – How does shutting down housing facilities help the people crossing the border? How does it ease the chaos on the border if facilities are being shut down and limiting the options for those who are charged with finding places for illegal aliens to stay while their immigration claims or asylum claims are being processed? Catch and release is not an acceptable answer, certainly not for the cities and towns affected by sudden arrivals of large groups of illegal aliens. This is a public safety issue and a national security issue. It’s time to stop playing games during a humanitarian crisis.

The post Bank of America ends funding for companies running detention centers appeared first on Hot Air.

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Fun: House Dems at each other’s throats after Pelosi cave on Senate border bill

Westlake Legal Group p-3 Fun: House Dems at each other’s throats after Pelosi cave on Senate border bill The Blog pocan pelosi ocasio-cortez mcconnell max rose funding chakrabarti border bill AOC

I have no deep thoughts on this, I just figured it’d be fun to toast some marshmallows together over the flames after House Democrats decided yesterday to light their caucus on fire.

Follow the last link and read if you missed the news. Quick version: The House passed a bill to provide humanitarian aid to the border, then the Senate killed it and passed its own humanitarian bill with heavy bipartisan support. House progressives wanted to balk because the Senate bill didn’t include certain provisions they were demanding, like a 90-day limit to holding migrant children. But the moderates in the Dem caucus rebelled, opposing language in the House bill that would have reduced funding for ICE to fight human trafficking and insisting that the Senate bill — which drew dozens of Democratic votes in the upper chamber — would do just fine. Facing defeat on the floor and worried that further congressional inaction on immigration would hurt Dems in purple districts, Pelosi caved and called a vote on the Senate bill. It passed with more than 300 votes, including 129 Democrats.

At which point House progressives freaked the fark out.

Chakrabarti clarified later that he didn’t mean moderate Dems were intentionally racist, just racist in practice. Mark Pocan, another hard-left Democrat in the AOC mold, didn’t pull his punches either:

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a group of centrist Democrats and Republicans in the House. The Democratic side of it didn’t care for Pocan’s tweet and let him know:

Reps. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), both members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, confronted Pocan on the House floor over his tweet. According to sources familiar with the conversation, Rose used expletives, and Pocan said he did not apologize…

Rose, whom his party considers to be vulnerable in 2020, vented his frustration Thursday shortly after the exchange, calling Pocan’s tweet “crazy, crazy language.”

“Mark’s tweet just speaks to why everyone hates this place. He’s just trying to get retweets. That’s all he cares about,” Rose told POLITICO.

Pocan kept it going afterwards:

“The quote-unquote Problem Solvers Caucus, I think, threw us under the bus and undermined our position to actually be able to negotiate,” complained lefty Ruben Gallego, a point echoed by progressive mainstay Raul Grijalva. AOC herself grumbled afterward that “the Problem Solvers Caucus is emerging to be this tea party within our own Democratic Party,” adding that “I find their tactics to be extremely concerning. It’s horrifying. It’s horrifying.” That’s some mighty thick irony considering that it’s Ocasio-Cortez’s own far-left “Squad” in the freshmen class that tracks most closely with the tea party — they’re young, were elected in a wave election, occupy safe seats, are convinced that the country’s experiencing an ideological revolution that tracks with their own thinking, and are willing to cross their own party’s majority in the name of ideology, as AOC herself did on the first House immigration bill that passed this week. They’re purists, and if they had the numbers to thwart Pelosi they surely would have used the same tactics that the Problem Solvers Caucus did to pressure her to adopt their position on the Senate bill.

But they don’t, so they’re left to darkly imply that the centrists in their caucus are “horrifying” monsters:

Just eight of the 32 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus voted in favor of the bill. Later the group issued an angry statement noting that “When the Congressional Hispanic Caucus members see suffering at the border, we see our children and our grandchildren.”

How’s Pelosi going to make it up to them? She’d better think of something or else the left is going to start playing hardball with her too. Exit quotation: “Pocan warned that it could fire up the 90-member Congressional Progressive Caucus to take more hard-line stances on key bills in the coming months.”

The post Fun: House Dems at each other’s throats after Pelosi cave on Senate border bill appeared first on Hot Air.

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Pelosi caves, agrees to pass Senate border funding bill after McConnell defeats House version

Westlake Legal Group np-2 Pelosi caves, agrees to pass Senate border funding bill after McConnell defeats House version Trump The Blog Senate pelosi mcconnell immigration House funding facilities detention border asylum

Remember, Pelosi’s first, second, and third priorities as Speaker of the House when government is divided is to maximize her party’s chances of winning next year. It doesn’t matter how much the left wants to impeach Trump. If impeaching him would damage Democratic chances in 2020, which seems likely, then Nancy ain’t doing it. It doesn’t matter either how much the left wants to punish Biden for his comments about “civility” with segregationists. If covering for Mr Electable on that point will help Democrats win next fall, then that’s what Nancy’s gonna do.

The fact that she preferred to humiliate herself this afternoon by agreeing to pass McConnell’s bill to fund more border enforcement and aid for detained migrants instead of insisting that the Senate pass her own bill tells you everything you need to know about how she thinks immigration will play next year. Between the endless news about an unprecedented crunch of asylum-seekers; the fact that Congress hadn’t offered DHS any new funding to cope despite reports of poor conditions in some detention facilities; and the reality that the loudest voices in the media from her own caucus are batsh*t open-borders fanatics like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this is shaping up to be a bad electoral issue for Democrats.

So it was time to make it go away, by whatever means.

“As we pass the Senate bill, we will do so with a Battle Cry as to how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth,” she added, hoping that that’ll soothe furious progressives.

Doesn’t look promising!

The charitable read on AOC’s position is that she’s so mortified by the conditions in which migrants are being held that she’s willing to hold up funding for weeks or months if need be while a compromise with the Senate is hashed out, whatever the political cost to her party. The less charitable read is that, as usual, AOC’s overestimating the extent to which her caucus, her party, and the country support the progressive agenda on all things. Pelosi thinks the political center of gravity is closer to the center than to the left. Whether that’s true of the party or of the country will be determined next year, but it is true within her own caucus:

A last-minute revolt by centrist lawmakers ensured defeat for Ms. Pelosi’s efforts to toughen the conditions in the Senate bill. The moderate Democrats balked at a funding reduction for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leaving the House floor in chaos and emotions running high. Ms. Pelosi was left with little choice but to accept the less-restrictive Senate bill, which passed on a lopsided bipartisan vote this week and would do far less to rein in President Trump’s immigration crackdown.

“Behind the scenes,” noted CNN, “moderates were encouraging members of the Blue Dog and Problem Solvers caucuses to vote against a procedural vote that governed floor debate and force Pelosi to pass the bipartisan Senate bill, as the White House and Hill Republicans have been demanding.” Per Politico, 18 centrist Dems were prepared to tank her revised bill on the floor if she didn’t hurry up and pass the Senate bill instead. The reason Democrats hold the House majority right now is because a bunch of centrists knocked off a bunch of Republican incumbents last year in purple districts. Those centrists are frightened of perceptions back home that Democrats don’t want to do much of anything to ease the crisis at the border except complain about how immigrants are being treated, and they know how potent Trump’s messaging on this topic can be. In the end, if Pelosi wants to keep her majority, those members need to be protected even if it makes AOC cry. So Pelosi made a hard choice: Hand the centrists a win, even at the price of being steamrolled by Mitch McConnell, even knowing how lefties will caterwaul, and get immigration off the table for now.

That choice was made slightly easier for her by the fact that McConnell’s Senate bill wasn’t a party-line matter. To the contrary:

Here’s the roll call, where you’ll find dozens of Senate Dems in the majority. The House bill, which failed 37-55, called for “more protections for migrants and less enforcement funding than requested by the administration.” Specifically, House Democrats wanted to ensure that all unaccompanied children held temporarily would be released within 90 days and that state and local governments would be reimbursed for support provided to migrants. In the end, Pelosi settled for an informal guarantee by Mike Pence that the administration would follow the 90-day guideline and that Congress would be notified within 24 hours if and when a child in custody died.

Anyway, this dynamic of a squishy Speaker capitulating in the name of electability and getting ripped to shreds for it by ideologues who hold safe seats feels familiar. Exit question: Will any candidates onstage at tonight’s debate go after Pelosi to demonstrate their purity? Gonna be hard for Bernie to resist.

Update: A good point by Philip Klein. If centrist Democrats in the House were willing to revolt on this in the name of protecting their electability, how likely are they to pass the sort of big-ticket progressive legislation that Democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are promising if they’re elected president?

Update: Here’s AOC making clear that she doesn’t want a dime going to enforcement, just humanitarian aid — even though, per Gabe Malor, the only enforcement provisions in the new Senate bill have to do with hiring some more immigration judges. She’s a ridiculous open-borders clown, the living embodiment of Trump’s caricature of all Dems on immigration.

Oh, and by the way, the Senate bill ended up passing the House this afternoon with more than 300 votes.

The post Pelosi caves, agrees to pass Senate border funding bill after McConnell defeats House version appeared first on Hot Air.

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Pelosi’s border bill should be dead on arrival

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When we previously discussed the President’s decision to put the planned deportation raids in as many as a dozen cities on hold, I suggested that Speaker Pelosi might have put an offer on the table that caught Trump’s attention, prompting the delay. His statement about giving Congress “a couple of weeks” to hammer out a deal seemed to provide further indication that this was what happened. Now we’re getting some of the details of the “offer” Nancy Pelosi is putting forward and as far as I can tell, ICE should probably gas up the trucks and get ready to head out because it stinks on ice. (Pardon the pun.)

Our colleague Beth Baumann at Town Hall has most of the details in the plan. They are almost entirely based on help for the immigrants at the border (much of which would be fine if they want to spend the money) and virtually nothing that the President or conservatives want out of a border bill.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday said the House of Representatives will advance a border bill brought about by the House Appropriations Committee. The announcement comes after President Donald Trump’s last minute decision to cancel a deportation raid that was scheduled for Sunday in 10 cities. Trump said he would give Congress two weeks to pass a border bill before the raid is reinstated.

According to Pelosi, the House will provide humanitarian aid that’s needed to keep families together.

“The President’s failed policies have exacerbated the situation at the border, where vulnerable children endure inhumane conditions that threaten their health, well-being and sometimes, tragically, their lives. This legislation provides urgently-needed humanitarian assistance for families, including funding for food, shelter, clothing, medical care and legal assistance, and will relieve the horrific situation of over-crowding and help prevent additional deaths,” Pelosi said in a statement.

You can go down the list, but all of the spending items are related to meeting the needs of the illegal aliens already in the country, with no provisions for slowing the flow of additional illegals crossing the border or speeding up the rate that we are able to process them.

There’s 934.5 million for processing facilities, food, water, sanitary items, blankets, etc. $866 million would go to “reduce reliance on influx shelters to house children.” Another $200 million is allocated to develop an “integrated, multi-agency processing center pilot program for families.” You’re probably getting the idea.

There’s another serious poison pill in the package as well. One provision would, “require the federal government to prospectively notify illegal immigrants that if they bring an unaccompanied child into the country and sponsor them, their illegal status would in no way be used against them, a source said, and that the child will be delivered to them without any reservation.”

Are you kidding me? So not only are we not fixing the loophole that’s allowing illegal aliens to grab a kid and use them as a passport to get into the country, but we’re going to advertise the loophole to all the migrants and codify it in law?

This is a joke and a bad one at that. Unless the Democrats want to include some money for new immigration judges, more CBP officers, and some wall construction, the GOP should tell them to take this bill and go pound sand.

The post Pelosi’s border bill should be dead on arrival appeared first on Hot Air.

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AOC to Biden: Don’t call yourself a progressive if you support the Hyde Amendment

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Good news for her, I guess: As of about 16 hours ago, he no longer supports it. But check back in an hour, because he might have another position by then.

This episode reminds me at first blush of when Trump said during the 2016 primaries that he’d support some form of legal punishment for women who attempt to abort if and when the practice is banned, only to retreat immediately after pro-life groups informed him that that’s not their position. But that’s not really the right analogy to Biden’s reversal on Hyde. Trump’s episode appeared to be a case of him failing what Charles Cooke called an “ideological Turing Test”: He’s not really a social conservative and doesn’t understand why social conservatives believe what they believe so he tried to imitate one by articulating a position he assumed they held. Once he found out that they didn’t, he regrouped hastily.

Having been a senator for nearly 40 years and a VP for eight, Biden knows perfectly well what progressives believe on abortion. And unlike Trump, he didn’t err by going further on his base’s pet issue than the base itself was willing to go. He committed the more familiar centrist error of being unwilling to go as far as they wanted to, siding with pro-lifers on the Hyde Amendment before reversing himself under pressure from the left. All of which is a long way of saying that Trump’s flip-flop was somewhat understandable, borne of ignorance, whereas Biden’s is completely farking mystifying. He knows this issue. He knows that it’s litmus-test material for progressives. He also has a very specific strategy for winning the primaries, which is to let the rest of the field split the left while he runs to the center. Whether to stick with the Hyde Amendment was a tough call for him in that he had to decide whether to fail a lefty litmus test and stay true to his centrist strategy by sticking to his traditional position or to try to pass the litmus test by reversing on it and inevitably be accused by rivals of changing his beliefs for political expedience. There’d be some pain involved in either approach, but that’s politics.

What seems inexplicable to me is trying out both approaches in the span of 24 hours, guaranteeing that he won’t reap any benefits from either. Remaining momentarily pro-Hyde confirms progressives’ suspicions that he’s a squishy apostate at heart, never mind his subsequent reversal. Flipping to anti-Hyde confirms to centrists that he can be bullied into leftist positions by the left if he’s elected, which defeats the whole point of nominating him if you’re a Democrat who’s worried about socialism taking over the party. And of course, the reversal feeds public perceptions that Biden’s a bad campaigner and a guy who takes way too long to make up his mind, as we saw most recently in his endless “should I or shouldn’t I?” deliberations about whether to announce. All he had to do here was pick one position or another, adopt it early, and stick to it. Instead, this. What on earth was he thinking?

Now it’s open season:

A few days ago David Byler of WaPo called Biden “the Democratic Mitt Romney,” comparing his position in the 2020 field to Mitt’s position in the 2012 field. It may be, argued Byler, that Democratic voters end up “trying on” various other candidates by lifting them to frontrunner status in the polls before eventually returning to Biden as the safe choice, which is what happened to Romney seven years ago. The analogy goes beyond that, though: Romney also had a rap for flip-flopping that made the base suspicious of him in 2012, so much so that he felt obliged to stand behind his RomneyCare plan in Massachusetts rather than commit the mother of all flip-flops and denounce it in the name of proving that he opposed ObamaCare. Biden could have done something like that in the case of the Hyde Amendment, saying, “I’m pro-choice but I respect Americans’ sensitivities about this and would rather the practice be funded without federal dollars, as I’ve always believed.” He chose to cave instead. What now?

Here’s AOC followed by the chief strategist for Obama/Biden 2008 warning Uncle Joe that he’s made a mistake here.

The post AOC to Biden: Don’t call yourself a progressive if you support the Hyde Amendment appeared first on Hot Air.

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Huh: Top House Dem calls for “give and take” with Trump over wall standoff

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I’m more surprised by this than I should be, probably. Watch, then read on.

Who’s Cheri Bustos? An interesting character, if you’re unfamiliar. Fun facts about her:

— She’s the new chair of the DCCC, the committee charged with helping to elect Democratic candidates to the House in 2020. The DCCC chair is also the fifth-highest-ranking member of the caucus. This isn’t some rando floating compromise with Trump on CNN. This is the leadership.

— She’s a Pelosi rival. In fact, no Democrat besides Nancy herself got as many floor votes for Speaker yesterday as Bustos did — only four, to be sure, but it shows that there’s already a constituency for her within the caucus. “Mrs. Bustos‘ fans in the Democrat caucus — many more than four — say she’s poised to someday ascend to speaker,” the Washington Times noted today. How many of her “fans” also think there should be some “give and take” with Trump?

— Her home district, IL-17, voted Democratic for president in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 — by double digits in all but one case. Trump stunned Hillary there in 2016, though, winning by less than a point. Bustos, meanwhile, has never had a truly tough race. She unseated the Republican incumbent in 2012 by nearly seven points, then won by 11 in 2014, then crushed her opponents by more than 20 in the last two cycles.

— Her brand has been “compromise” since long before the shutdown. Here’s what she told BuzzFeed a few days before the midterms:

“I think the next two years will be very, very important for us. I think we have a lot to prove to the American public. … We’ve lost that faith, to the point where we’ve been in the minority for, what is it, eight years now,” Bustos said. “I want to make sure that we can show them that we can get some hard work done. And I think we have two years, that’s a very short timeline, to show them that we can get this done, that we can be good legislators.”…

And yes, Bustos is even willing to work with Trump himself. “He wants to run for reelection in two years. He has to have something to show for it,” Bustos said. “If he wants something to show for it, then we’re saying sure, we’ll work with you on these issues that Americans care about.”

Add all of that up and Bustos’s comments in the clip shouldn’t feel like a surprise. She’s cultivated an image as a less partisan Democrat; her home district likes her a bunch but also likes Trump, pointing her towards moderation here; and as head of the DCCC, she needs to take care that what she says publicly doesn’t come back to haunt her colleagues who are running in redder, more Trump-friendly districts. Her job on the committee is to get them reelected, remember. Playing good cop to Pelosi’s bad cop on the wall might help them.

And yet. This is the first crack of daylight I’m aware of within the Democratic caucus on the shutdown. Pelosi’s message up until now has been that the party is unified in denying Trump his wall. Suddenly here’s the head of the DCCC on television saying, “Wellllllll…” Surprising! Plus, ask yourself how dangerous an anti-Trump comment by Bustos would really be to a red-state Democrat facing a tough race in 2020 given that 99.9 percent of the country couldn’t pick her out of a line-up. Realistically she’s in no danger of losing her own reelection bid either by taking a hard line against the wall. She won in a landslide the last time POTUS was on the ballot, after all. What happens in 2020 if she comes out as strongly anti-Trump? She wins by only 10 points instead? If anything, throwing a few jabs at him might endear her to the liberals in her caucus who’d prefer a more progressive Dem to Bustos as Pelosi’s successor.

Also, what’s up with this tweet, published shortly after the CNN interview today?

So Bustos doesn’t want “give and take” on the wall? Even though the wall is the only thing Trump wants? Or is this a case of Nancy yanking her leash after the CNN interview and warning her to get back in line before Republicans take heart from Bustos’s comments and decide to dig in further, believing Dems are about to cave?

I don’t think she’s saying much of anything here, really. In principle America needs more “give and take.” In this specific case, even though Trump’s asking for a pittance compared to what Democrats typically spend on government programs, she’s a hard no — purely to spite him, in keeping with the Democratic mission. If there’s any concrete compromise she’s willing to entertain, it probably involves generic “border” funding. Nothing for the wall but a few billion for “security” generally, just to show that Democrats care. Even though they obviously don’t.

The post Huh: Top House Dem calls for “give and take” with Trump over wall standoff appeared first on Hot Air.

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