Democrats Legislate, While Republicans Demonize, Disrupt, and Delay

Trump’s little temper tantrum at the White House yesterday was designed to give him the opportunity to say things like this.

In his twisted little mind, telling congress that he won’t work with them until they stop their investigations is a set-up to accuse them of doing nothing. Philip Bump took that one head on and documented that House Democrats can both legislate and investigate at the same time. I’d like to zero in on one example of how they are doing just that. It not only comes from the House, but from the committee that is at the center of the investigations.

On Wednesday, while the president was having his little temper tantrum, the House Judiciary Committee marked up two immigration-related bills that have been referred to as the “Dream and Promise Act.” Together, they would provide a pathway to citizenship for more than 1 million immigrants who were either protected under Obama’s DACA program or have qualified for temporary protected status.

While both bills were ultimately approved by the committee and now head to the floor for a vote, the process, which started at about 9:00 a.m., took eleven hours. That is because the Republicans on the committee did everything they could to disrupt and delay the process with one poison pill amendment after another. For example, Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced one about immigrants with felony DUI’s. But all felons were already barred from the provisions in the bill.

Contrary to Trump’s lies, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee stuck it out for eleven hours and got the job done—something we all know the president would never do. But at one point in the hearing, Representative Veronica Escobar (D-TX) made a point about what all of the Republican amendments had in common.

What she made clear is that the poison pill amendments offered by Republicans (which were all rejected by the committee) were not simply designed to disrupt or delay the process. They had an additional goal in mind. All of them allowed Republican members to demonize immigrants by focusing on exclusions that cast them as criminals and gang members. As Escobar noted, “this is about the way that we see people.”

While Democrats demonstrated that they can legislate and investigate at the same time, Republicans demonized immigrants in an attempt to disrupt and delay the process of governing.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.