Negotiations to Reopen Federal Government Reinforce Need For Bold and Moral Leadership in Congress

Photo credit: Associated Press 

by Interfaith Worker Justice

The compromise reached today in the Senate to reopen the federal government after a two-day shutdown is a stark reminder that the dearth of bold, moral leadership in Congress will continue to result in legislation that leads to pain and poverty for millions of working people.

Today’s Continuing Resolution, which does nothing to resolve the broken immigration system or to end the Obama-Trump deportation machine, is no exception. It’s hard not to wonder how this process might have gone differently if the initial demands on immigration reform had not been so narrowly focused on winning protections for DACA recipients.

Entering into negotiations over immigration policy from the starting point of protecting young undocumented immigrants is baffling, given the widespread and bipartisan support for such legislation. Instead, the starting position for negotiations should be Protection For All — full amnesty for the 11+ million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. That’s Negotiation 101: ask for more than you think you can get and end up with more than you were willing to settle.

Until there is bold and moral leadership in Congress, until there is a focus on fair and just policy, until there is more effort given crafting meaningful legislation instead of positioning one’s party for the next election, this poor politicking leading to terrible policy will continue.

All members of Congress must do better or this cycle of short-term stopgaps and legislation that hurts working people will continue unabated.