Republican Senators look for deal to re-open government, but ignore the one in front of their faces

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: (L to R) Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hold a news conference following their weekly policy luncheon, September 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. Leader McConnell announced they will not vote on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, the GOP's latest attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
If Lindsey Graham wants a deal, he needs to be looking at Mitch McConnell

After Donald Trump had a temper tantrum and stormed out of negotiations with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, a group of Republican senators met with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner about how to re-open the government. Somehow, they missed the possibility of pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on the legislation the House has passed that’s virtually the same as legislation unanimously passed in the Senate back in December, and instead are thinking of offering to trade protections for DACA and TPS recipients for the $5.7 billion in wall funding that Trump currently wants.

If that deal sounds familiar, yes, a similar deal fell apart last spring … but that deal was for $25 billion in wall funding. Progress!

This time around, it’s Sens. Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Thom Tillis, Lamar Alexander, and Rob Portman floating the idea. And Jared Kushner, who CNN reports told them that “if they came up with a proposal that got Trump his border wall money and could pass the Senate, the White House would be open to more discussions on the matter.” Open to more discussions. Not would agree to it, but would discuss it. While big chunks of the government remain shut down.

Again, if Republican senators are serious about re-opening the government, they have a straightforward tool to do so. Pass that legislation that the Senate passed last month (which means it needs to be passed again, since that was a different Congress). They need to be pressuring Mitch McConnell to allow that vote, not coming up with long-shot new plans that Trump will “discuss” and then back out of. Re-open the government—or at least dump responsibility for the shutdown 100 percent in Trump’s lap—using a plan that was fine by Senate Republicans last month, and then work on striking a grand bargain. 

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