It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… Or Not?
It’s that everyone’s favorite time of year again — the time of year when days get shorter and the weather gets colder. You can practically hear the excited clamor of holiday shoppers striving for the best deals and bustle of last minute flights as families reunite for the season. However, there is a different kind of chaos occurring in our nation’s capital this year. While there may be decorations and trees, it is definitely far from a picture-perfect “White Christmas” in the White House this year. Instead of presents under the tree this year, Trump is in for another treat: that’s right — it’s time to pass the budget, or else the government might face a shutdown.
Unfortunately, Republicans and Democrats seem to be having issues agreeing on the bill. Thankfully, Mr. President is here to save Christmas; after all, he did write a book on deal making.
Democrats and Republicans have been fighting over the new budget bill for the United States — nothing new there. However, the issue isn’t funding per se — instead, it’s the elephant in the room: what’s going to happen to all the DACA students? The fiasco started in September when Trump eliminated DACA and kicked the issue to Congress. The Dreamers have been stuck in a limbo ever since then as Congress did not tackle the issue (they were a little busy failing at repealing Obamacare). Now, this issue seems to have come back to haunt Trump because Democrats are demanding the government grant legal status to thousands of Dreamers. Republicans refuse to budge, which has caused a dilemma considering they need 60 votes in the Senate to pass the budget and they currently only have 51.
But Wait, There’s More!
Apart from the Dreamer issue, there are a host of other issues regarding the budget including, but not limited to: defense spending, funding for the opioid crisis, and a 20% corporate tax rate. Essentially, there is a lot left to decide and not a lot of time to decide it. It’s at times like this when both sides need to sit down and compromise, which is what party leaders were planning on doing until Trump tweeted that he didn’t see a point to the meeting because there would be no deal. He also accused the Democrats of wanting to flood the USA with illegal immigrants, hindering any chance of compromise between parties.
And That Leaves Us Where?
Democrats met with Trump and Republicans on Thursday, December 7th to discuss a compromise and the House passed a measure to extend funding until Dec. 22. If they don’t reach a conclusion by then, the government will shut down like it did a few years ago when Obama was in office. Overall, with the series of failed bills in Congress this year, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a good year for Trump. Maybe his New Year’s resolution will be to stop disregarding minorities?
In Other News…
Jerusalem and Israel
President Trump fulfilled a campaign promise recently when he directed the State Department to begin moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has also stated that this does not mean that the USA is taking any sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that it does not change the status of Jerusalem. However, this does not exactly add up given that embassies are generally placed in a country’s capital, implying that he is, in fact, picking a side. This has already caused international backlash; in fact, Hamas has already called for an uprising as a result of the President’s announcement.
Russia and the Olympics
Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics this week after the International Olympic Committee concluded an investigation on a mysterious incident. Apparently, the investigation involved a potential secret night operation in which Russian operatives tampered with urine samples. President Putin had previously declared that Russia might boycott the Olympics after dismissing the doping claims; now, it is unclear if he plans to proceed with this plan given that it’s a moot point now that the country has officially been banned. In a reprieve to some of the players, the Committee is allowing clean Russian athletes to compete under the Olympic flag and anthem.