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Dems Dismiss Trump's 'Compromise'      01/20 09:57

   In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald Trump offered to 
extend temporary protections for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as 
children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for his long-promised 
border wall. But while Trump cast the move as a "common-sense compromise," 
Democrats were quick to dismiss it as a "non-starter.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President 
Donald Trump offered to extend temporary protections for young people brought 
to the U.S. illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange 
for his long-promised border wall. But while Trump cast the move as a 
"common-sense compromise," Democrats were quick to dismiss it as a 
"non-starter."

   With polls showing a majority of Americans blaming him and Republicans for 
the impasse, Trump said from the White House that he was there "to break the 
logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown 
and solve the crisis on the southern border."

   Hoping to put pressure on Democrats, the White House billed the announcement 
as a major step forward. But Trump did not budge on his $5.7 billion demand for 
the wall and, in essence, offered to temporarily roll-back some of his own 
hawkish immigration actions --- actions that have been blocked by federal 
courts.

   Following a week marked by his pointed clashes with House Speaker Nancy 
Pelosi, it was not clear if Trump's offer would lead to serious steps to reopen 
the government, shut for a record 29 days. Trump's move came as hundreds of 
thousands of federal workers go without paychecks, with many enduring financial 
hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

   Democrats dismissed Trump's proposal even before his formal remarks. Pelosi 
said the expected offer was nothing more than "a compilation of several 
previously rejected initiatives" and that the effort could not pass the House

   "What is original in the President's proposal is not good. What is good in 
the proposal is not original," she later tweeted.

   Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also panned the proposal as "more 
hostage taking," saying that it was Trump who had "single-handedly" imperiled 
the future of the immigrants he proposed to help.

   The New York Democrat said there is only "one way out" of the shutdown. 
"Open up the government, Mr. President, and then Democrats and Republicans can 
have a civil discussion and come up with bipartisan solutions." he said.

   Democrats had made their own move late Friday to try to break the impasse 
when they pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more for border 
security. But Trump, who has yet to acknowledge that offer, laid out his own 
plan, which officials said had been in the works for days.

   Seeking to cast the plan as a bipartisan way forward, Trump said Saturday he 
was incorporating ideas from "rank-and-file" Democrats, as top Democrats made 
clear they had not been consulted. He also said Senate Majority Leader Mitch 
McConnell would bring the legislation to a vote this week, though Democrats 
appeared likely to block it. McConnell had previously stated that no vote 
should be held in the Senate until Trump and Democrats agreed on a bill.

   Trump's plan seems to stand little chance of getting the 60 votes needed in 
the Senate. Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democrat the White House has looked to 
as a possible partner on immigration negotiations, said he will not support it. 
And Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another key centrist, said she would study the 
details of the plan but did not commit to vote for it.

   She added of the shutdown: "This needs to end now."

   Trump's remarks from the Diplomatic Room marked the second time he has 
addressed the nation as the partial shutdown drags on. On this occasion, he 
sought to strike a diplomatic tone, emphasizing the need to work across the 
aisle. He maintained a border barrier was needed to block what he describes as 
the flow of drugs and crime into the country --- but described "steel barriers 
in high-priority locations" instead of "a 2,000-mile concrete structure from 
sea to sea."

   The proposal was met with immediate criticism from some conservative 
corners, including NumbersUSA, which seeks to reduce both legal and illegal 
immigration to the U.S. "The offer the President announced today is a loser for 
the forgotten American workers who were central to his campaign promises," said 
Roy Beck, the group's president.

   At the other end of the political spectrum, Trump's offer was panned by 
progressive groups, with Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American 
Civil Liberties Union, calling it a "one-sided proposal."

   Trump embraced the shutdown in December in large part because of angry 
warnings from his most ardent supporters that he was passing up on his last, 
best shot to build the wall before Democrat took control of the House in the 
new year. After his announcement Saturday, some supporters appeared unhappy 
with his effort to bridge the divide with Democrats.

   "Trump proposes amnesty," tweeted conservative firebrand Ann Coulter. "We 
voted for Trump and got Jeb!" she said, in a reference to Trump's 2016 rival, 
Jeb Bush.

   In a briefing with reporters, Vice President Mike Pence defended the 
proposal from criticism from the right. "This is not an amnesty bill," he 
insisted.

   White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also sought to increase the 
pressure on congressional Democrats in advance of Tuesday, the deadline for the 
next federal pay period and the day officials said McConnell would begin to 
move on legislation.

   "If the bill is filibustered on Tuesday...people will not get paid," he said.

   Mulvaney said that Trump had not ruled out one day declaring a national 
emergency to circumvent Congress to get his wall money --- as he has threatened 
--- but added that Trump maintains that the "best way to fix this is through 
legislation."

   Trump's son-in-law and senior aide, Jared Kushner, along with Vice President 
Mike Pence, had led the efforts build the plan Trump announced on Saturday, 
according to three people familiar with White House thinking who were not 
authorized to speak publicly. After a heated meeting with Pelosi and Schumer 
that Trump stormed out of, the president directed his aides to bypass 
Democratic leaders and instead reach out to rank-and-file members for ideas.

   To ensure wall funding, Trump said he would extend temporary protections for 
three years for "Dreamers," young people brought to the country illegally as 
children. Administration officials said the protections would apply only to the 
approximately 700,000 people currently enrolled in the Obama-era program 
shielding them from deportation, and not all those who could be eligible. The 
plan would offer no pathway to citizenship for those immigrants --- a deal 
breaker for many Democrats.

   Trump also proposed a three-year extension to the temporary protected status 
the U.S. offers to immigrants fleeing countries affected by natural disasters 
or violence. Officials said the exemption would apply to about 300,000 people 
who currently live in the U.S. under the program and have been here since 2011. 
That means people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti --- countries 
that saw the status revoked since Trump took office --- would get a reprieve.

   Democrats, however, criticized Trump's proposal for failing to offer a 
permanent solution for the immigrants in question and because he refuses back 
away from his demand a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which the party 
strongly oppposes. Democrats have told Trump he must reopen government before 
talks can start.

   Trump had repeatedly dismissed the idea of a deal involving Dreamers in 
recent weeks, saying he would prefer to see first whether the Deferred Action 
for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, survived a court challenge.

   On Friday, the Supreme Court took no action on the Trump administration's 
request to decide by early summer whether Trump's bid to end that program was 
legal, meaning it probably will survive at least another year.

   But during a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump hinted at the 
possibility, saying he would consider working on the wall and DACA 
"simultaneously."

   A previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of 
"Dreamers" broke down a year ago as a result of escalating White House demands.


(KA)

 
 
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