Senators Race to Protect Immigrants, and Restore Their Institution

Members of the bipartisan group that intervened to bring the shutdown to an end hope the push for an immigration bill can reignite opportunity for debate.

Comments: 168

  1. I sometimes wonder whether this particular Senate (and House) can ever be “fixed”. Prior to the Gingrich era, there were acrid partisan differences, but, most of these were philosophical or professional differences. Over the last 20 years, or so, many of the differences have become deeply personal. Attacking one’s viewpoint on an issue is one thing,,and, it’s largely expected. But, attacking a supposed colleague in a personal,way is quite different, and not easily resolved.

  2. The United States was founded on compromise, often lousy compromises, some of which get fixed later, some of them which never get fixed, like the Electoral College compromise, which was one of several Founding Father compromises and concessions to Southern slavery states to found our nation. Today's Know Nothing President is a direct result of that lousy 1787 compromise and the nation suffers greatly for it. Let's hope that moderate voices prevail in this compromises rather than the wretched right-wing Grand Old Preachers who have worked so tirelessly to steer this nation over their cliffs of unreason. “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the Republican party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.” ― Barry Goldwater

  3. When you add gerrymandering and the Supreme Court's law allowing corporations to be equal to people to the Great Electoral College Compromise, you get politics in the 21st century.

  4. With decades of gerrymandering under their belts, Congress now hangs their portrait of dysfunction proudly over the Capital. All the unethical time spent ensuring the supremacy of their Party has inflicted a high toll on the government’s ability to negotiate itself out of a paper bag. Their not-so-pretty picture is framed by disrespect for the Constitution which they had pledged allegiance. We have heard it a thousand times, but it is more important today than ever; A Government Of, By, and For the People. “Political Party” is nowhere to be found. Until our government can acknowledge that wads of money (see Google’s dump of money into Washington) will not change who they are ultimately responsible to, that ugly depiction will remain hanging in the Congressional Gallery of Shame for the foreseeable future.

  5. True, but finally the people (and the courts?) have had enough and redistricting reform has taken hold, or is coming, to a number of states. Everyone who cares about democracy should be working within our states to push for redistricting through nonpartisan means. Once legislators are no longer able to choose their voters, they will be much more likely to compromise and get the work of the people done. And, no, centrist does not just mean corporatist/elitist. A majority of Americans are in favor of higher taxes on corporations and the 1% just as they are in favor of protecting Dreamers.

  6. Senators of both parties working collaboratively, talking with instead of at each other, and moving forward as representatives of their constituency, not just their donors. How utterly refreshing. Out of many, one. Long may it last!

  7. Maybe they should consult President Stephen Miller because he opposes any immigration agreement ...

  8. McConnell says he will ‘allow’ a fair and open process? Shouldn’t a fair and open process be a given?

  9. I scrolled down looking for a person who would bring up that little slip, and here you are. Mitch "Obstruct!" McConnell has made a mockery of the Senate. If this "Common Sense Caucus" can push back, kudos to them. I'm not holding my breath.

  10. 'a fair and open process' is considered extremely radical and revolutionary to today's Russian-Republican Tyranny of the Minority Party. They just passed a massive 0.1% tax cut law under the cover of 0.1% darkness. I have low hopes for these political low-lifes.

  11. Not with McConnell or Ryan.

  12. Moderate democrats and republicans are called centrists but there is nothing moderate or centrist about them. Moderate democrats are really corporatists and moderate republicans just aren't racists. They likely all belong to a religious cult and they likely all do what is best for the corporations. None will put the people before corporations or themselves, or their respective parties.

  13. By all means, fix the Senate. The best way to do this is to come up with compromises that get a veto-proof majority. It would be better for all concerned if the President could simply be left out of government, at least for a while.

  14. Bring back earmarks. Getting rid of earmarks was the biggest mistake we ever made. We traded a tiny bit of controlled corruption for a state of naked partisanship and near-total dysfunction. It was a bad trade.

  15. The senate is beyond repair. The DACA program is toast because the democrats can't seem to stand firm. In the meantime, this monstrous wall. The wall that everyone has ridiculed. The wall that will actually do more to isolate Americans, will get funded. On a practical level, many don't really understand just how much we depend on Mexico. For example, simply walk to your grocery store, and see how expensive your vegetables are. A majority of our citrus fruit, comes from Mexico. A single lime averages a $1. Let that sink in.

  16. Most illegals don't work in agriculture. Much of their work could be done by machines. Let that sink in.

  17. Where are our statesman? Where are our leaders? These party hack bozos are a disgrace to the title Senator. What happened to Country First. The hyper-partisanship corners that each side hides in are not what the country wants. Our country wants the Senate and the House to work together for solutions that benefit the USA. Their job is not their caucus. Their job is the citizens of this great country that they're hurting each and every day.

  18. The talks will collapse . It is an exercise in futility. Ryan , McConnell , Kelly , Miller and Trump are all on the same page: the Republican Party has become nothing more than its radical base which must be appeased at all times. Cruz and Cotton see themselves as the heir apparent. The GOP has lost independents , women , youth , Blacks, Hispanics and new voters so it's 35% is all that is left.

  19. The biggest problem here is that both sides have legitimate issues on immigration and neither side wants to come to the middle for fear of looking weak. What makes America great is when both sides work together and finds the common ground that allows us to be a better nation. Come on congress do your job, you're always asking others to do theirs, now it's your turn.

  20. Schumer and McConnel both have so much invested in the past they are hidebound. Time for new leadership of both parties.

  21. There biggest problem with immigration is that it isn't being enforced and people are constantly forgiven for breaking the law. Americans are tired of this and that is one issue Trump is right on. Imagine everyone patiently waiting on a line but some people and their kids just bum rush to the front. Then all the people on line are told to just shut up and let more of them keep jumping in front. Of course that leads to anger and division that could have been prevented by enforcing the rule that EVERYONE waits their turn.

  22. While that might be the "biggest" problem, it isn't the most pressing. DACA ends on March 5 at which time 800,000 people who have been living as Americans become illegals at risk of deportation. Using your analogy, if a child is with their parent when they cut in line should the child be punished as well? Should the child have their present and their future destroyed because their parent, who has the legal right to make decisions for them, forced them to perform an illegal act. If a parent told a 5 year old to pick up a diamond bracelet and walk out of the store with it, should that child be arrested and put in jail? Once that child is an adult should we retro actively punish them for what they did when they were 5? I don't understand how so many people can have so little empathy for this situation. Why does polarization blind so many to the realities of the human condition? You don't punish children for doing what an adult forced them to and you don't wait until the child grows up and punish them for it either.

  23. Keep in mind that immigration enforcement has been interpreted to mean arresting and harassing those who are most vulnerable and scrupulously avoiding virtually ANY prosecution of those who hire them. Additionally it means making sure no steps are taken to build a reliable immigrant identification system to relieve employers of guilt to make sure no penalties can be assessed.

  24. Sending people to Mexico is not arresting them. They are not being jailed. Stop it. Many people happily live there. There's no reason that most illegals cannot.

  25. And then there’s the gerrymandered House.....

  26. Ironically, Mr. Trump has built his wall already - it's the one that now divides our nation, that Sarah Sanders applies more mortar to at every WH briefing and that continues to erode basic principles embedded in our Constitution. There is nothing more politically cynical than to hold deportation over 3/4 of a million people in exchange for a campaign promise that does not have the support of most Americans. The NYT calling this a "race to protect immigrants" understates the realities here: this is the equivalent of a mass hostage situation - one purposefully created by just a handful of people and a president who professes "love" whilst displaying his blatant xenophobia.

  27. Great comment!

  28. With legislation, the best and most effective compromises are the ones in which all parties walk away a bit disappointed. I hope these 25 Senators can make that happen. It's actually what our country needs most right now. No big winners, no big losers. Find the middle. That's a tough sell come election season, but it's the only way our democracy endures.

  29. So what compromise in the middle would you have recommended in 1860? Right now, what compromise on Obamacare? Only deprive 10 million people of their medical insurance? On taxes? Only give the extremely wealthy half of what the Republicans gave them? The only way our democracy endures is if the Republican party is destroyed. Not a happy feel-good thought. Just a true thought.

  30. One party? You suggest monolithic thought? If you are not helping out, you are part of the problem. You are not helping out.

  31. Politics is the art of compromise as anyone who has been a politician knows and what you have laid out is what happens all the time in many other countries. Apparently my country, New Zealand, is at the top of some organisation's list as the fairest and least corrupt in the world. That may be true because what I see as a Kiwi watching US politics is a degree of polarisation which I cannot believe. Here's hoping that the US, founder of modern Democracy, will react to this cross party initiative by looking at compromise as the way forward. And let's hope also that Mitch McConnell will be true to his Irish forebears and promote the opportunities of debate. The eyes of the world are on this one, truly, and making the Dreamer's hopes come true will raise the image of the land of the free from the depths to which it has sunk.

  32. In a country as diverse as America, in a country whose ideals are freedom and justice for all, the only thing that will work in government is bipartisanship. No one gets to have it all their own way. No one. I applaud and admire those Senators who are striving to work together for the common good of our country, but honestly, it is difficult not to despair.

  33. The New Deal was not bipartisan. If FDR had waited for the Republicans we wouldn't have Social Security. The Great Society wasn't bipartisan. If LBJ had waited for the Republicans we wouldn't have Medicare. Obama tried like heck to get the Republicans to engage on extending medical coverage to most folks. They weren't interested so the Democrats passed Obamacare. Now maybe you are opposed to Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare. That's your right but a majority of Americans support those programs and bipartisanship would have doomed all three.

  34. As I recall Social Security and Medicare did get republican votes. They were driven by Democrats yes, but Republicans contributed to the legislation and help get them passed. The Republican party has changed a lot since then.

  35. True, but both the Civil Rights Act of '64 and Voting Rights Act of '65 were bipartisan. If LBJ had waited for Southern Democrats, where would we be? With issues of great importance, the parties have to disregard the voices of the radicals in each of their houses to get something done.

  36. The senate was broken by republican gerrymandering, which allowed extreme conservative political views to be elected into the chambers from districts where true competition was gerrymandered away, and these congress critters have not only pulled govt. to the extreme right, but thy have also prevented reasonable (DACA for example) legislation to be passed. NOW they are trying to push the immigration debate in a way that ends the lottery (which allows the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free) an opportunity to become citizens, and denies families a right to migrate here intact. And they are doing this to prevent colored people from migrating here. When they say people coming here need to "contribute," I wonder what their idea of a reasonable contribution is, exactly, because from what they say, it seems like they want english speaking economically successful people only to be allowed to immigrate here.

  37. How was the senate broken by gerrymandering? I fully agree that the House is, but the senate? Each state gets two senators. They aren't divided into districts like the house.

  38. "Gerrymandering" is an issue only where legislative districts are in play--in the House (and in state legislatures). Senate races are statewide, so gerrymandering has nothing to do with them. (I point this out because I think gerrymandering, particularly by Republicans, is a huge problem--all the more important to be clear about it, then.)

  39. All senate seats are at large. There is no gerreymandering. Don't confuse it with the house.

  40. I applaud these Senators for taking the initiative to work together and to try to restore some sanity to Congress.

  41. Centrists who dare McConnell buck Heartily I wish them good luck Will they break the Trumpish log jam McConnell doesn’t give a damn.

  42. I applaud this bipartisan effort, and wish them persistence and courage. They’ll need it.

  43. The august legislative body known as the Senate has been absent for years. Beginning with Mitch McConnell's vow to obstruct President Barack Obama presidential agenda, the Senate has lost its ability to focus on issues affecting the nation and to deliberate in good faith with members across the aisle. Deliberating and legislating shouldn't be a test, says Senator Richard Durban, but an obligation to do what is best for the constituents who entrusted them with their votes. Somehow, the Senate lost sight of its purpose and responsibilities, and this applies to both parties.

  44. I presume that Sen. Collins is still waiting for the healthcare bill that McConnell promised her in exchange for her vote on the tax bill. What makes her think that he's any more trustworthy this go-round?

  45. Good job to these Senators for trying to work out of the center, where most Americans live, and not on the extremes. Thank you.

  46. Bravo & Kudos to Senators Collins and Klobuchar and the 1/4 of Senators doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. It is heartening to see Senators who understand and practice governing.

  47. Despite what their actions of the last year imply, many senators need to recall that their responsibility is NOT to the Executive or to their party. It is to the Constitution, which is where, by oath, their loyalty must lie for our system to work. Their loyalty, because Article 1 charges them with the most vital checks and balances on both the Executive and Judicial branches including the power to impeach and remove each from office. Before there was the legend of Sen. McCain's Wild West, 'Maverick' senators of all parties have sprinkled our history with a rich tradition of contrarian views coupled with abiding loyalty to its institutions and an ability to use their office to get things done. From D. Webster to H. Clay to JC Calhoun v C Sumner to LBJ to T Kennedy and B Goldwater and many more, they have strengthened the institution through their words, actions and their independence.

  48. Members of Congress owe loyalty to the Constitution, but they also owe loyalty to Americans, including working-class Americans. The top quintile of Americans are doing well, very well. The second quintile is or should be somewhat anxious about the future. It's the third and fourth quintiles who are suffering from job losses and stagnant wages. Millions of jobs have been lost due to NAFTA and similar legislation. Millions of jobs have been lost due to the ease of transferring information packets to India and other countries. Millions of jobs have been lost due to employers' move to more part-time work and fewer full-time jobs. The third and fourth quintiles have been deliberately ignored for decades, and they are speaking telephone, email, social media etc. They are concerned for themselves and their families, for their they should be. As Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O'Neill said, "All politics is local".

  49. Mr. McConnell's statement, "Whoever gets 60 votes wins," is in itself a change from earlier days, when filibusters were rare and 51 votes would have been enough to win.

  50. The Senate was always seen as the great equalizer. The founders understood that the House could and often acted on emotion. The Senate was a way to slow the process down to allow debate and to arrive at a well-reasoned answer on behalf of the American people. But for a few years now that process has been hijacked by fringe elements and the leadership has allowed it and contributed. The Majority Leader did it with Judge Garland as a way to keep control of the Supreme Court, he does it by not bringing bills to the floor that are not good for the right. I applaud this group of Senators who know what the Senate is and want it back. Americans are a majority in the middle but the screams on the right and left always seem to yell the loudest and get what they want like spoiled children. The adults need to regain control and lead.

  51. Could this be the beginning of the end of the partisan nightmare brought about largely through the efforts of Gingrich, and ending up with the "leadership" of McConnell? Senators engaging in dialog could become much in demand in the near future. Maybe, in the process, we can eventually rid ourselves of those who support their donors rather than us citizens!

  52. On one of the Sunday morning shows last year, a longtime rep in Congress theorized the root of that institution’s current dysfunction can be traced to the fact most Congressmembers don’t live in D.C. anymore, but commute to work. In years past, he noted, running into other legislators in local lunchrooms, bars, even convenience stores sometimes led to a compromise on legislation which had been tied in knots for months. Similarly, by giving in to the convenience of “social media”, we ignore the importance of face-to-face interaction at our own peril. Logging out of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and hashing out differences with others at a bar or across a lunch table has become a frightening prospect for some. Yet they would be more than compensated for any cost in convenience by peace of mind.

  53. I submit that much of the 'root of that institution's current dysfunction' can be traced to the fact that millions of working class Americans are either not working, are working at part-time jobs when they want and need full-time work, and are working for lower wages that haven't kept pace with inflation since the 1990's. These working class Americans are letting their representatives know of their unhappiness. The current situation is not dysfunctional, as you choose to believe. Congress is functioning by doing what they should do: listening to their working class constituents.

  54. Azalea Lover, Congress has achieved next to nothing of substance over the past year. That, by definition, is dysfunctional.

  55. McConnell: “Whoever gets 60 votes wins,” Wins what? And who loses and at what cost? Imagine if DACA fails, and why. All the daily news reports of military personnel, students and neighbors being deported to a country they don't remember. But don't worry, as Trump stated in January (when does he not make good on a promise?): "They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. "

  56. A breath of fresh air. I look forward to hearing more. I am proud of both Republicans and Democrats who support the growth and vital mission of the coalition. Good luck.

  57. "The Senate has become mainly an arena for political warfare, allowing the parties to thrive on doing their best to sabotage each other’s priorities. Breaking those entrenched habits will be difficult, if not impossible." - And therein lies the crux of the problem. Congress is more interested in the pursuit of their OWN political interests, than those of the country as a whole. Who's to blame? As usual, the voter. WE have put them there to keep this game going; having bought into BOTH parties position that there's only ONE way to do things, and if you don't agree, you become the enemy, REGARDLESS of the validity of your position. WE have fallen into the: "I'm ALWAYS right, and you are ALWAYS wrong" trap that has been set by BOTH parties. Carry on.

  58. One aspect of Senate and House rules that baffles me, as a Canadian, is that it appears that the Speaker chooses which legislation is allowed to be considered. In our House of Commons there are opposition days where the parties not in power are able to submit bills that must be dealt with. Some even pass when the governing party decides they have merit. If this is the case, I'd suggest the reformers start there.

  59. Imagine if we could hold Senate and House members' health care coverage hostage until they start making some sound decisions about important issues (like health care and immigration) instead of currently holding DACA recipients hostage in the budget negotiations. You'd see how fast they would act. They get away with doing nothing useful in exchange for health and retirement benefits that their constituents pay for.

  60. Well, I am always hopeful - but then again I am always disappointed. Looking specifically at DACA - I do hope the Senators are at least reading the polls. The Brookings Institue says that polls indicate that 2/3 of TRUMP supporters are in favor of helping the dreamers. That means the only people opposing DACA are a handful of Americans and members of the U.S. Congress. see:

  61. The problem has been that both parties in the Senate have stymied floor debate on highly controversial issues that provoke a response from voters. This kind of protection must end whether it is employed by Democrats when they are in the majority, or Republicans when they are in the majority. The problem is that both parties have become more extreme and the mainstream members of the Senate fear primary opposition from members of their own party. Despite all that, it is time for the Senate to play the role designated for them by the Founding Fathers. The Senate should be a deliberative body that enacts important legislation after a thoughtful and full discussion of the issues and a chance to amend the bill during the legislative process. Can our politicians still do this and survive in such a partisan political environment? Perhaps the upcoming midterm election will shed some light on that question.

  62. Are we supposed to be impressed that 25 percent of the Senate is willing to do what they were elected to do? I guess given how low the bar has been set for the presidency, we should be thrilled. It will be interesting to see how long Mitch puts up with all this bipartisan heresy.

  63. In the long run, Mitch can't fire these Senators; only the electorate can, so support them at the polls.

  64. I have high hopes for the senate in this regard. This effort is not certain to be successful however. The House, on the other hand, is far less likely to become a functioning legislative body with learned discussions of important issues, even if extreme politically motivated gerrymandering is eliminated.

  65. I miss politicans like Republican Bob Dole and Democrat Tip O'Neil. Whether you agreed with their politics or not (and I often did not...), they would get together and yell at each other and pound the table and maybe have a few drinks, but in the end they would figure out SOMETHING that would keep the country moving along. No one got everything they wanted out of a deal, and everyone had to give up something. Compare that to our current scorched earth debates. Here's hoping that senators can once again learn to act like senators.

  66. That was when we had the Soviet Union, and we had to keep up appearances that we were a decent nation built on compromise. In truth, the system was just as rigged back then, maybe more so. I think what we're nostalgic for is our youth and the propaganda that gave us that warm, wholesome glow.

  67. It's imperative that restoring a functional Senate is part of our public dialogue. Our only road to restoring the extreme divisiveness in this country is for government to reflect all of our interests through Congressional dialogue, cooperation, and compromise. Thank you for publishing this article. I hope to see continued focus on this issue in the NYT.

  68. This is the most heartening thing I've seen since McConnell took the gavel. We need a legislators who can listen to debate, who can change their mind, and who have to put their political reputation on the line. This country, let alone the Senate, was never meant to be governed by parties.

  69. How unfortunate that you seem to be in the grips of a delusion that debate changes the minds - or effects the vote - of members of the Senate. You really should read the history of the Senate. I suggest Robert Caro's biography of LBJ during his years as Majority Leader as a place to start. Also, Evans and Novack wrote an excellent biography of LBJ; the book is several decades old but still quite topical.

  70. The current leadership, particularly McConnell, will never stop pushing a partisan agenda. There is no desire to achieve bipartisanship. Rather, it is to push through long standing priorities that history has shown do not work. Until there is new leadership, in both parties, this will not change.

  71. Mainstream USA does not believe that our borders should be porous and that we should admit unlimited immigrants. There is no reason to allow more than 250,000 immigrants per year.

  72. The idea that Democrats, who, by the way are also Americans, support porous borders is ridiculous. The number of immigrants, the country admits should be determined by economic and humanitarian conditions.

  73. Please tell us who has suggested that the United States should have completely porous borders and "admit unlimited immigrants"?

  74. Maybe they should just take over the Senate and form a new majority.

  75. A coup with guns and their own militia? Banana republic style? Surely you jest.

  76. So, in conclusion... Examine the so-called Democrats: the same ones that voted for the Iraq War, the same ones who voted for the "Patriot Act, and the same ones who voted against reinstating Glass--Steagall. These are the same ones who called Trump's bluff and shut down the idiotic efforts to deny citizenship for young people who have led "clean" lives here since childhood, then recanted, and now want to do it all over again. These are called Hillary-crats or Schumer-crats. Their morality and patriotism is always conditional on which way the winds blow and standing for principles only when absolutely forced to. Their standard operating procedure is to never , ever have the courage, the concern, the strategy, or the knowledge to do what they were elected to do.

  77. Spare me. Not a single one of Collins, Alexander, Graham, Corker stood up for "regular order" and "bipartisanship" by voting against the monstrous, deficit-busting, perverse GOP tax bill. Perhaps they knew they had to take care of first things first, self-preservation:

  78. This can work. Now let's see if it does.

  79. This is what happens when you have a majority leader(?) who is envious of Ryan and wants to run the Senate like the House. Can't be done if we expect results. That's one reason Mitch shut down Claire McCaskill when she tried to introduce a bill that would keep funding the troops during the shutdown. She had the nerve to actually call for a vote. Mitch objected and killed it. I hope this chaos continues right through November. With Dems in charge, the executive branch will be singing a different tune.

  80. There is no way that Mitch McConnell will let some other group take away his power. He will tell one lie after another in order to keep it.

  81. Since I like living, I won’t hold my breath that anyone can “prove that the Senate’s frozen legislative gears can still turn.”

  82. oh how i hate these "both sides are guilty" articles. do we say it just to protect the tender sensibilities of the republicans? i am happy to see a bipartisan group coming forward to work in immigration but that does not negate the recent behavior of the republicans, the 8 years of obstruction and stealing a supreme court nomination. i see no equivalent actions by the democrats.

  83. These guys sound like babes in the woods. Apparently the legislative body has failed to note that the impetus for what gets considered, written and passed comes primarily from donors. Most voters have given up on a government by, of and for the people. In the 1970's Princeton and Northwestern declared us already an oligarchy because the vast majority of Congressional work was done for elites, not the general population. It has only gotten much worse now that the media are propaganda players too and due to Citizens United. Trump was an unfortunate result of a population that gave up on institutions that once protected and promoted democracy. The cure unbelievably is worse than the disease. That is saying a lot. Perhaps Senators like Graham, Collins and Kaine look into a mirror and see themselves as independent statesmen. It must be a fun-house mirror because it distorts the tragic reality that represents the truth. Lapdogs comes first to mind. Or perhaps lackeys.

  84. During this recent shut down of the federal government and DACA debacle, it's as if some politicians work harder for non-citizens at the expense of their own citizens. They, the Dems, will suffer for it at the polls.

  85. You continue to parrot the Republican Party line propaganda in NY Times comment sections, but it clearly is not true. Democrats are fighting not only for DACA but for all citizens. They are pushing for more funding for homeless veterans, opioid victims, and others, in the domestic spending priorities of the budget that Republicans have so far refused to support. Republicans McConnell and Ryan work only for their wealthy donors, against everyone else.

  86. "A fair and open process" 'This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides.' "Who ever gets 60 votes wins" Mitch McConnell - this guy commits and says 'Good Luck Dems on your legislative attempts.' and He gets away with it

  87. Hyper-partisanship and identity politics are clearly a party to the Senate's dysfunction, but the truly sad result is that the Senate has become the tail to the dog in the White House. The Senate majority leader is so fixated on his zero-sum political games that he is oblivious to how fatuous his behavior has become. However, even if the Senate can somehow heal itself, the sepsis in the House is life threatening.

  88. McConnell only knows being locked in a partisan staredown. Well, I wish the moderate centrists the best of luck. But I don't see how 70 senators "on the same page" is going to make the slightest difference, when it comes to votes in the House.

  89. Dear Senators, Please continue to try to fix our Senate Partisan bickering, as house elders you have our faith and best wishes and above all our last ray of hope for civility. This is our democracy at stake which survived in the face of Putins, Assad, Al-Sisi and Xis of the world. Thanks A Disgruntled Voter

  90. The Senate is about to approve legislation that will solve the DACA issue. In the process, they are also about to put this hot issue into the hands of Speaker Paul Ryan, the House Republicans and President Trump. Now, we will see if these obstructionists really can take the heat.

  91. Yes. Smug Ryan probably thinks he can do what Boehner did, and simply block a bipartisan immigration bill from reaching the floor of the House. That way, Republicans can continue to demagogue using immigrants as a target to distract voters from the harm Republicans continue to do to the middle class. We will need a bipartisan group of Representatives in the House to come together to force a decent immigration bill to the floor of the House using a Discharge Petition.

  92. Is it just me, or is this the way all 100 senators are supposed to act all of the time?

  93. Democrats current weak position means the best we can do now is make distasteful compromises. Hopefully that will change after November. In the meantime we must not fight each other. Republicans are no longer the loyal opposition they are the enemy and right now they are the only enemy. They have earned that status by their deceitfulness, by their loyalty to a disgraceful president and by their unconscionable policy choices.

  94. Where are you going to get 67 Senators and 290 House members to override Miller's veto, yes Miller's as Trump appears not to call the shots on immigration. Miller needs to go and then there might be a ray of light.

  95. Republican leadership has broken with one of the pillar of a civilized society where we recognize that we are only as strong as the weakest amongst us. I never thought a Party in power would hold the minority Party and the common good of the nation in such contempt. If any citizen acted like this they could be charged with blackmail or a civil court fines could be levied for acting in good faith in a failed business deal. The tactics employed by the GOP are an outrage and a nightmare to anyone who has empathy and any kind of historical perspective. Imagine what it would feel like to be one of the Dreamers or a resident of Puerto Rico while congress tries to extort the nation into abandoning those in need or who are in jeopardy. This isn't how most Americans want to be governed. Not while Russia continues to prosecute its active cyberwar against us. Much of what the GOP has tried to since january 20th of last year is disliked by 70 to 80 percent of voters, yet GOP leaders are charging ahead like they are trying to capture a beach head in World War II. I'm ashamed of them. Most of us are, but I once called myself a conservative. That's never going to happen again. Thank you GOP. I am fully awake and I now consider myself a Robert Kennedy progressive. It' 2018 and now anything is possible except one thing. The GOP will no longer be the majority in Congress and the radical extremists in the GOP will not be able to lie, cheat and steal or hold us hostage.

  96. Today's issue has the first part of a series "Is there something wrong with democracy" which in a way asks the same question as this article. If Congress does not find a way to transcend tribal hatred, democracy can not survive in this country, any more than those others that have failed. Let us not forget, it is not just a quirky historical artifact that our original U.S.A. was an oligarchy, restricted to white men with property, about a quarter or less of the population. The entire country was made up of those with interests that define today's conservatism Only over time, with inclusion of women only a century ago, and blacks for a bit more than a half century. With this wide expansion, democracy became our secular religion, but like theistic ones, it is largely mythical. It's not God who is omniscient but the universal body politic -- whether voters have any understanding of the complexity of governing diverse groups of people or not. Our current President had the stroke of genius, the epiphany not only to realize this intellectually, but act on it viscerally. He will use this modern democracy to destroy it if necessary, or to continue to use it if it remains beholden to him. Both Trumpism and Socialist-Democrats promise a nirvana, each to be achieved by diametrically opposite principles. This is unstable, and there can only be movements like a battle front during wartime, until one or the other vanquishes the enemy. No compromise, no democracy.

  97. What if we look to the past for guidance on the future? I propose President Trump and the Congress look back to 1994, and follow the guidelines of President Clinton and his brilliant Chair of the Commission on Immigration Reform, Barbara Jordan: “The Commission decries hostility and discrimination against immigrants as antithetical to the traditions and interests of the country,” Jordan said. “At the same time, we disagree with those who would label efforts to control immigration as being inherently anti-immigrant. Rather, it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.”18 In 1994, Jordan said, “Our patience is growing thin toward those attempting to overwhelm the will of the American people by acts that ignore, manipulate, or circumvent our immigration laws. Unless this country does a better job in curbing illegal immigration, we risk irreparably undermining our commitment to legal immigration.”19 Surely Democrats should support the recommendations of President Clinton and just as surely Republicans should support this brilliant solution for immigration reform. Problem solved!

  98. Sen. Collins basically nailed it when, in response to PBS's Judy Woodruff's "Where's the middle ground?", Sen. Collins said, "Well, you distinguish between those who knowingly broke the law when they came here and their children, who didn’t knowingly break the law. The way that the parents who did break the law would be treated is, they wouldn’t be made citizens, but would be allowed to have renewable work permits to stay in this country, but wouldn’t ever be allowed to be citizens." Exactly. The element of willfulness is key. For those whose initial act of unlawful status was willful, amnesty should be in the form of a "red card". A red card would encompass the same rights as a green card, with some major exceptions: 1) a permanent bar to naturalization; 2) a permanent bar to petitioning anyone for a green card. For those whose initial act of unlawful status was non-willful, amnesty should be in the form of a "yellow card". A yellow card would encompass the same rights as a green card, including the right to naturalize, with a few key exceptions: 1) while in yellow card status, the inability to petition anyone for a green card; 2) a permanent bar to petitioning parents, siblings or adult children for a green card; 3) upon naturalization, the ability to petition a spouse and minor children for a green card. Bottom line, anyone who has ever been in unlawful status should never be able to get a green card. -- That, my dear senators, is the middle ground.

  99. A President should be able to dissolve any House of Congress that fails to meet its Constitutional responsibilities...nobody is above the calling for new elections of that House within three months. This provision should have been included in the 17th Amendment.

  100. Okay, so we’ve put a bandaid on the crisis of the year, and I DO applaud the efforts of our elected Senators and Representatives who have defended the Dreamers. But this process of fixing the immediate problem must be replaced by a more permanent solution. Unfortunately this can only come through the rise of a new political party whose rise to power will hurt many of the groups that progressives wish to protect. Many patriots died during the the run-up to establishing our new nation, and we must expect figurative casualties as the current POLITICAL revolution comes about. Personally, I’d like to see Oprah (with her wide popularity and considerable wealth) link up with Bernie Sanders, who has the essential political experience.

  101. A small ray of hopeful light in our current darkness. I would urge the Democrats, especially the more liberal members (and I count myself as very liberal) to abandon the circular firing squad tactics they are using and look for places to join with the moderate Dems and GOP. It may not be perfect, but nothing is and it's clear we cannot go on like this. I think Amy Klobuchar is a potential star of this movement. Hopefully she will choose to run in 2020.

  102. Bless your heart Senator Coons, but the solution is not allowing senators to act like senators. The solution is to have them start acting in the name of what is fair and just, not crowing about how collegial you all were over the weekend when you came together to advance nothing. DACA, stricter gun regulations, medical care, a living wage and quality education might be a bar room brawl for the House, but they should be a no brainer for the Senate. You job is to hold the children in the other chamber accountable. If you were a true deliberative body it really wouldn't matter which party holds the gavel.

  103. I would like to see those 25 Senators start a Common Sense (3rd) Party and field a Presidential candidate in 2020 as well as local candidates for Congress and at state levels. Common sense, cooperation and some compromise is what we need.

  104. No we need an effective party, one where results are the only thing that counts. A wall (even the threat of it) has been very effective.

  105. God, I would so vote for a party that left people alone on all social issues and was actually fiscally responsible, including appropriate taxes for appropriate goals.

  106. Not sure I understand what you are getting at with regards to a wall. But, whenever I hear the end justifies the means I see trouble. The 20th century was marked by tyranny on the left and on the right based on that principle.

  107. Why we on the left have hung our hats on the Dreamers is baffling to me. It seems we do it just to spite the right. Why do we call such a small group dreamers? Aren’t people of all ages that get caught sneaking across the border dreamers too? Why are you only a dreamer if you don’t get caught? Many say “But they are just children who should not be punished because of the crimes of their adult parents.” Most of these people are over 18. You can be up to 31 years old and still be considered a child dreamer. We look dishonest when to refer to people in their 20s and 30s as children. I read an article last week that 40% of Americans are 1 paycheck away from disaster. That works out to aprox120 million Americans who are 1 paycheck away from disaster. That should be the news for liberals and Democrats not dreamers. Why do so many of our elected officials prefer dreamers to Americans who face potential financial disaster? When we on the left want to protect dreamers while ignoring all the other people who want need, desire, and seek to be part of America they are hypocrites and political racist just like the right when they selected Cubans for special rights while throwing everyone else back.

  108. At long last, a voice of reason. Thank you.

  109. >Steve "Hanging our hats on the Dreamers" You make a good point. This position will be presented by the Republicans to make it look as if the Dems want to protect all immigrants at the expense of American citizens. If the Dems want to make a stand on immigration, they need to embrace all of it and present their plans accordingly. This is not only good politics - the country needs a fully comprehensive immigration plan; one that includes what to do about the 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

  110. The article is very informative. Also, on The Times today, "Border Wall Is 'Off the Table' in DACA Talks, Schumer Says" gives readers an excellent overview for the events to be re-captured as a summary. From the shutdown to the shutdown of the shutdown, the intensity had been, for me, dangerously fragile. If broken, the negotiation would have been hard to bring back to the restorable point. Several opinions along this line appeared on The Times over the past few days. On Monday, for example, Charles M Blow described it as "a sore spot", which means; the more the interests of conflicts become apparent to voters, the more there will be a possibility for the humane aspects of the immigration issues to be un-prioritized. I truly believe the move was a correct one. The next challenge may be how much the formed alliance's solidarity can overcome each senate's own interest.

  111. I wish the senators well in their efforts. It may work better on some issues than others. It will be interesting to see how bipartisan they remain on issues where the big money mega-donors favor the extreme partisan position.

  112. Term limits, please! Maybe then bipartisan legislation will be accomplished in Washington.

  113. "It is a pragmatic group of centrists from both parties — a mix of red-state Democrats like Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; independent-minded conservative Republicans, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina..." It's ridiculous that Sunday morning political chat show fixture Lindsey Graham continues to be portrayed by the NYT and other media as though he has any actual influence in the Senate, the Republican party or anywhere else. He has less political influence than my house cat. When he ran for president in 2016, his national polling numbers went no higher than 1% and he had to shut down his campaign before the end of 2015. He was one the tone-deaf "Gang or 8" Senators who has been botching the immigration debate for years now, and he continues to be useless today (see: last weekend's govt. shutdown). After all these years of his all-talk-but-no-action act, it should be obvious that he has nothing to offer on any issue. He's not worth listening to. Period.

  114. The senate actually being the senate, a deliberative body. What a concept. The original, founding fathers' concept.

  115. A lot of 'ifs' and almost insuperable hurdles facing the senators willing to use the Senate for what it was intended. One of the big ifs is McConnell whose word can't always be taken at face value. Assuming that the Republican leader is truly amenable to a solution, perhaps one will be forthcoming. A big if.

  116. It will require a bi-partisan effort to resolve the immigration issues while the far right holds power over the Republican leadership. Right now, no matter what anyone says, neither DACA nor border security nor refugee nor legal immigration can be passed unless the Tea Party and the far right media and campaign contributors agree. They want little legal immigration and expulsion of undocumented immigrants, and no refugees.

  117. The only effective way to pass meaningful legislation in both houses of Congress is to modify the bill process by implementing a "one issue" rule, without the pork.

  118. It's about time.

  119. Too bad some of these "moderate" Senators are bailing because of the toxic politics of the right. Who will replace Corker and Flake? We can only hope the Rs run true to form, nominate more right-wing nutcases, and they are succeeded by Democrats.

  120. What makes the immigration debate so difficult, is that it is wholly permeated by Identity Politics. And Identity Politics is exceptionally divisive. It pits "people of color" against "white people", in an unrelenting, insoluable fashion. In Identity Politics, which in essence is a form of fundamentalist religion, white people are viewed as having "original sin". There is no positive role or space for them to occupy. At best whites are meaningless or neutral, but more often, they are portrayed as oppressors, people who by simply living their lives and doing as everyone else in the world does, are creating horrible problems -- apparently unlike the result created by others merely living their lives. The unconscious of "people of color" is apparently benign, but the unconsciousness of white people is defined as oppressive. The only "positive" space for whites in the system of Identity Politics is as "allies" for people of color, and this orientation infuses whites with guilt if they are not actively supporting people of color somewhere. Advocating for porous borders with Mexico thus becomes a way that whites can "redeem" themselves of the "original sin" Identity Politics figures into the immigration debate in that it casts the debate as not one about mere law, but claims that those seeking limits on immigration are actually racists, trying to keep out people of color. The need to bring more brown people into the nation thus has highly symbolic resonance.

  121. You state: "Powerful forces will be aligned to prevent any immigration measure from even clearing the Senate." Those two two powerful forces are usually: (1) the money of the wealthy buying what they want; they buy votes of course in the usual corrupt manner and (2) the votes of the people. Number (1) is the nightmare of our system and fortunately is not too powerful regarding immigration. So number (2), how the people feel about this is critical for the Dreamers. And how have voters been educated and informed on this issue. They have been provoked and lied to and their worst instincts and hatred have been stocked by President Donald Trump into believing the dreamers are evil incarnate; as though these folks, brought to our country as children and knowing no other country, are about to attack and murder us. Trump is a curse on this country; an ignorant, uninformed, semi-literate child. What on earth did his parents do to him to create this monster?

  122. Well it is certainly well past time to fix the Republican Congress. We have had our fill of their suppression of women's rights, their refusal to accept clean air policies, their cheat tax bill, their bigoted attitude towards Dreamers and immigrants. Last but not least we are sick to death of hearing about the unnecessary Trump wall. Why have Republicans bought into Trump bigotry even while professing their profound and generous Christians hearts. They are hypocrites.

  123. I am hopeful. The Founding Fathers designed the government to function through compromise, checks and balances. These Moderates are trying to bring us back to the way government should work. It's also what the American people want.

  124. Sorry Robert, but, the Founding Fathers did not take into account "Citizens United", Robert Mercer and the Koch brothers, among others. It is this group of billionaires that are getting what they want and "demand" out of this government, not the American people. Ultimately, unless there is a complete upheaval within the government and voters start electing politicians whom are no longer beholden to serving strictly the interests of their wealthy corporate benefactors, the American people's wants and needs will continue to be ignored.

  125. The Dreamers did nothing illegal in coming to America. They were not even at the legal age of consent when they were brought to the United States. It is immoral to punish any human being for doing nothing wrong. Deporting Dreamers violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. Maurice F. Baggiano, Member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court

  126. Why should the children of lawbreakers benefit from the lawbreaking of their parents? If parents sneaked into a theater with kids in tow, should the kids be allowed to finish the movie? If the parents squatted in your vacation house with their young kids, should the kids be allowed to stay because they ended up there "through no fault of their own"?

  127. They can stay but only if their parents and relatives are barred from also becoming citizens, forever. The lines to legally enter the United States are very long, we should not support those who attempted to cheat the system by using their children as shields.

  128. The 1.4 million military personnel and 2.7 million civil servants also have done nothing wrong. Not only they did not do anything wrong, some of them risk their life to protect the country. During the shutdown our service men and women were asked to fight without clear assurance that they will be paid. The process of survivor benefits were suspended. Somehow Democrats choose to protect illegal aliens over American citizens.

  129. If a bipartisan group truly wants to restart the government on the Senate side, all they really need to do is put equal parts Republican and Democratic money into a fund to recall Senator McConnell in Kentucky, and maybe lead a campaign to disinvest in Kentucky until he's gone. He did this, he's been doing this for 10 years. Likewise, in the House, there isn't any Republican movement to get rid of the Hastert rule, which is the other major contributing factor to the lack of a legislative branch of our government. So I don't see any genuine desire to change things. Dethroning McConnell and Ryan is genuine desire to have a government, the rest is Bull-whatever the Prez said. The Senate could take some steps to show the country they want out of the current jam beyond that, I suppose. They could open an investigation in the Senate Judiciary Committee of congresscritters Nunes and Jordan on charges of obstruction of justice and working for a foreign power.

  130. They're finally trying to overcome the McConnell effect and the forced need to go "Nuclear" when party alignment is paramount. Denying a fair and open hearing on the Merrick Garland appointment should have been the final straw due to his lack of comity, but then he has doubled down with repeated attacks on the ACA and the recent Tax Cut Middle-Class Whiplash Act. The current Common Sense caucus forged in the recent Shutdown fire drill should reject the extremists on both sides of the aisle who are tone deaf by design in their ambitions for higher office (Cruz, Paul, Harris and Sanders, etc.).

  131. The democrats will not stop with the Dreamers. If they just want to give legal status to just the kids why are they protecting everyone in sanctuary cities? If the Dreamers stay will the sanctuary cities go? We know the answer is the sanctuary cities will stay. If anything after the Dreamers get to stay the democrats will say Its not fair that poor Africans can't be dreaming here. Its not fair that the ocean is just to hard to sneak over.

  132. Reality check country with out borders isnt country.If a person does little investgating they see truth of which most problems we have today is because some wasnt doing there job . Take into account 9/11 no one in government took responibilty in allowing thses people in are country.

  133. Trust is the real issue in the Senate. McConnell has never been someone that can be trusted. He will cynically do whatever he can by changing or breaking rules to achieve Republican goals. (Remember the President Obama nomination for the Supreme Court that he blocked for over a year - no hearings even, so no Republican would have to vote against someone they previously said was very well qualified?) I wouldn't trust McConnell with my wallet on the table in a dark room. Just watch - he will sabatoge any Dreamer or immigration deal and blame the Democrats. Scoundrel!

  134. The democrats care more about illegal immigrants than America's working-poor, more about illegal immigrants than outrageously indebted students, more about illegal immigrants than those who desperately need health care, more about illegal immigrants than the unemployed, more about illegal immigrants than U.S. government workers, more about illegal immigrants than climate change and the environment, more about illegal immigrants than our disastrous foreign policy and endless wars. If the democrats can't give up their crusade on behalf of foreigners over Americans they are finished! Which will be too bad, because the republicans are cartoonishly evil. The democrats are only interested in catering to the pet issues and interests of upper-middle class professionals. They don't care about anyone else, that is, except for the illegal immigrants who help drive down wages and thereby reduce the costs of the consumer goods that the upper middle class professionals love to buy and flaunt. This is why Trump is President.

  135. You are correct on all counts. I don't think Democrats care about America's working poor. Whether black or white, Democrats don't seem to know any of America's working-class citizens. Democrats cast their lot with immigrants, both legal and illegal, nearly two decades ago.

  136. That is an inaccurate headline. Legal immigrants re just fine. There are members of Congress racing to protect illegal immigrants. I don't understand why the paper of record is blurring this distinction again and again.

  137. Pretty awful that the compromising has to start on a liberal issue, amnesty for illegals. I seriously doubt the democrats would be willing to have a fair and open debate on let's say, entitlement reform. This is all republican give and democratic take.

  138. Let's worry about those Americans who are struggling and are having a difficult time making ends meet. They are legal citizens who need our help. Our allegiance is to them first and not to those who willing broke our immigration laws. America first.

  139. The immigration fight is over, and the open borders crowd has emerged victorious. How long has it been over? It was over when we started debating whether or not to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

  140. When a guy like Lindsey Graham is referred to a moderate, you know that journalism is dead. It is this sort of ahistorical mental realignment, now in cooperation with our fourth estate, that delivers unto Democrat voters "liberals" who are no more liberal than a Rockefeller Republican of 1980. The problem is, the journalists are right. Lacking a true progressive wing of government at all, the United States has become mired in identity politics rather than serious self-reflection on the state of our costly institutions. If you read about US government the last time we had real choice, back in the 30s, you find that there could be a debate over for instance whether to spend the money needed to give aid to England as it was being attacked by Germany. That is, there was a leftist peace movement so strong it questioned any and all transgressions of it's values. Today you can't get the Left to even look at the billions wasted on the military during what is for practical purposes peacetime, because it's a sacred cow and the Left has no real institutional values. Instead they bruhaha about bathrooms. Hence government becomes a firestorm over the hardly consequential while the big issue of all governments since Rome, "Where goes the money?" is never debated. Btw, it goes to Wall St., in one form or another.

  141. The Constitution allots political parties no role in government, but we have acquiesced to rule by political party, with predictable results. In his Farewell Address, George Washington warned America against political parties. He said: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.” He added that “political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms among the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country.”

  142. The roadblock on the Dreamers’ pathway to citizenship is the Senate filibuster, or more accurately, the Senate’s “60-vote rule” that prevents cloture. If the 60-vote rule were waived, Republicans, with support from some Democrats, would quickly pass a compromise immigration bill that (1) grants DACA enrollees citizenship or legal residence status, (2) strengthens border security, (3) deters future illegal immigration and (4) replaces “chain immigration” with a merit-based immigration policy.

  143. There are several less ideologically motivated members of the senate. Can't always count on them to go against their genetic predisposition to toe the party line, but there remains at least a chance. The house is something else, really something else. There is absolutely no way to transform this beer hall atmosphere into a seriously deliberative body. This is the place where reason, logic and common sense go to die. A house cleaning is in order!

  144. I wish them well - I absolutely support their effort to seek bipartisan compromises and end the useless partisan charade - but I'm not holding me breath.

  145. Its not about fixing an immigration system. Its about what to do with 30 million people who broke existing law entering the country.

  146. Thanks to Carl Hulse for a thoughtful analysis of the big picture. His view from 30-thousand feet gives me a little more hope about the Senate and it’s future. Maybe this Gang of 25 will someday restore the noun “senator” to an honor instead of an invective.

  147. First, let's correct the headline on this article. The "race" is to protect ILLEGAL immigrants. DACA merely defers action. It does not make a legal immigrant out of an illegal immigrant. All DACA enrollees are illegal immigrants. Next, everyone following this issue should know that having a criminal record does not disqualify a DACA enrollee. It specifically allows enrollees to have up to three misdemeanor convictions involving 90 days in jail or one more significant misdemeanor for which up to a year was served. So, put it out of your mind that every DACA recipient has a "clean record". Next, DACA's other requirements are minimal: age, residency, involvement with some form of education or holding some kind of job. Here's my compromise: re-screen every DACA enrollee and those we would admit as legal immigrants should be admitted as legal immigrants with all the restrictions and no ability to sponsor any relatives. We should implement mandatory eVerify, implement a visa entry/exit tracking system, build more wall, crush sanctuary movements, and let ICE methodically restore a functioning immigration system.

  148. Brilliant! Your compromise is well-thought out and well stated. It puts American citizens, American taxpayers, ahead of illegal immigrants. Your compromise would help working-class Americans, who desperately need the help. That means it won't be done.

  149. The Senate has morphed into 'the world's least deliberative body', mostly due to the filibuster (minority) rule but also because the (Dear) Leader has close to absolute power. The rules must change, and the Senate can do that, but I'm not holding my breath .. the filibuster is a 'security blanket' senator's pass back and forth from the majority party to the minority, each time that changes. The filibuster must go, and these 25 Senators are showing that's nothing to be afraid of. If one party could enact anything it wants by simple majority the cooler heads on both sides of the aisle would negotiate, give a little and come up with sensible laws; they could block the fringes and crazies from holding good legislation hostage. Please, common-sense Senators: be brave, scrap the filibuster, give the Senate back to the bi-partisan majority.

  150. Here's another idea or two that might break the gridlock and it would take the news media to make it work. Elected officials and those running for office stop defining themselves as "conservatives," liberals, moderates, centrists, progressives, democratic socialists or libertarians. Eliminate the special interest and ideological caucuses (Freedom Caucus, black and Hispanic caucuses, women's caucus). Each member is held accountable by their constituents only for the bills they put forward and how they vote, not how pure their ideology is or how loyal they are to their identity group. We need 100 "problem solvers" in the Senate and 435 in the House.

  151. Fixed that for you: Senate races to exploit immigrants for cheap labor in California. Trump's right, and we sold out the working class to buy progressive votes.

  152. "Fixing the Senate" is not going back to the "glory days" of foghorn Senators "deliberatin'" It means recognizing that the Constitution set the limits on Senatorial "cooling" of House bills--six year terms--and that this Constitutional norm should not be encumbered by "mere human traditions" like the filibuster (which lets the "Senate be the Senate," which means, dysfunctional). The solution for the majority party is to get rid of this unnecessary handicap and start legislating the agenda the American people gave them the Presidency, House, Senate, and now Supreme Court to accomplish.

  153. Thise that stand against the so called leaders of their parties in the effort to serve the people are heroes and deserve broad support. It is not an easy thing for the rank and file to say no to entrenched power.

  154. Let's hope that the "world's greatest deliberative body" can demonstrate that democracy still works by doing what they've been elected to do: compromise. There seems to be a significant bipartisan group of 25 senators willing to do so. This is truly a showdown for our besieged democracy and the forces for compassion and human decency against those whose put racism over reasonableness. I'm rooting for democracy and the Dreamers who represent what America has been and still should be.

  155. Have the Koch Brothers and the Mercer Family signed on? Inasmuch as they drive the positions of Republican politicians it is likely they will play the most crucial role in determining what the legislation looks like. Until we take the money out of politics Democracy is doomed.

  156. I agree there is too much money in politics. I disagree with you that it is Republican politicians - it's both parties. You mention Koch: how about Soros. There are billionaires contributing to both parties. How about Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms? Without them, how would Bill and Hillary Clinton achieved a fortune of more than $250 million dollars?

  157. At the end of the day, the lack of bipartisanship lies squarely at the feet of the Freedom Caucus and others with the same mind-set and political goals. For them, especially their more religious minions, they must have everything their way, even though they are a distinct minority in the country. Indeed, at best they are 25% of the electorate, yet they cause all the problems. Surely there must be a way to neutralize them and then to attempt to bring their supporters into the late 20th Century thought

  158. Seeing bipartisanship is genuineliy heart-warming, though I feel guilty whenever I see Susan Collins, thinking, 'We don't deserve her.. and she doesn't deserve Washington.' Lets be happy for this little something, and reward those responsible for it, while also remembering, occasionally, that we have come to set the bar for government achievement so low as to barely be able to see under it. The big kinds of projects taking place in countries that are advancing in China, Germany and other leading countries cant even be discussed here with a straight face.

  159. Not sure whether to celebrate this or to question why our elected officials have failed to govern for so long and only seem to focus on being re-elected. Why don't we hold them accountable for this failure? In the meantime, I'll favor this attempt at a bipartisan resolution rather than the Senate's continued 'fiddling' while Washington 'burns'.

  160. This sudden "bipartisanship" is window dressing in advance of the midterms. Remember how the tax bill was passed? Prepare for more of the same unless Dems win the House the Senate or both. Let's hope this will at least take the dreamers out of jeopardy.

  161. I will not say McConnell is is singularly responsible but it can't be denied that he is major, major figure in the decline of the Senate. After all, he has been either minority leader or majority leader for the past ten years. Most of this stuff developed out of Supreme Court Nominations. Here is the history that few know. Recall during Watergate when Nixon was looking for somebody (anybody!) in the leadership at the Department of Justice to fire the special counsel investigating him? People kept resigning rather than yield to Nixon, up until Nixon got to Robert Bork. Bork said, "Sure! I'll do it because I want to be on the Supreme Court." Now this should have disqualified Bork. Nevertheless, Reagan decided to poke Democrats in the eye and in 1987, nominated Bork for the Supreme Court. What were Democrats to do? Approve a Nixon crony for the Court? Of course not. So they rejected the nomination. Later GHW Bush nominated Clarence Thomas. Same scenario with the Anita Hill allegations. But then McConnell really crossed the line. He refuse to allow Obama with 1 year remaining in his presidency to seat another Justice on the court. Absolutely unheard of. While I would like to see compromise in the Senate as the vast majority of Americans would, I think it will take getting rid of a bad actor like McConnell first through change of control. Few Americans have done more damage to the institutions of government than McConnell. It is a sad fact.

  162. God help us, let reasonable centrists prevail. We all need to come to our senses and get practical. Compromise is something we should all value.

  163. A terrific post-gridlock principle would be that the party in power commit to advancing legislation that can secure a 60 vote majority in the Senate. Period. That could be 50+ majority party votes with a few minority party votes. Or, less likely, it could be a minority-sponsored bill that somehow has managed to attract a sufficient number of majority party votes. Either way, that helps get us past this whipsaw effect that results from legislation being crammed through by one party. We need more stability, not a more "progressive" or more "conservative" government. Get lasting things done.

  164. Bipartisanshipis badly needed on this issue. Immigration reform should be in the national interest, it is not really a left vs.right issue. The 2006 legislation proposed by then President G.W. Bush is a very good starting point. With some compromise adjustments on the most sensitive issues in that bill, a law far superior to the current mess could be enacted.

  165. We could be watching the core of a new party forming here. It is truly amazing that it is seen as a radical step to restore decency and functional bipartisan government. I think you have to go back to the pre-Reagan years for a comparison.

  166. The first step to mending the Senate is to replace Mitch McConnell with a Majority Leader who believes in bipartisan cooperation and promoting legislation that serves the country instead of obstruction and single party hegemony. Mc Connell (and Ryan with his reliance on the Hastert rule) have virtually shut down the Congress as a viable and functioning legislative body representative of the interests of the American people. The DACA debacle is the perfect example of their refusal to bring to the floor a clean bill that would reflect the opinion of reportedly 70 to 80 percent of the populace.

  167. Protecting Dreamers is great. I hope they succeed. If they really want to protect this country from the damage this dysfunctional polarization is wreaking they need to step up to protect the ongoing investigations into Russian interference and influence in our elections. This includes pressuring their members to lay off the current spurious attacks on the FBI.

  168. First, let's wait to see if there has been any Russian interference and influence in our elections.........and let's encourage the FBI to be what they should be: neutral. I suspect most FBI agents are neutral, and are looking at crimes that have been committed. But an unknown number of FBI agents have politicized their jobs - no doubt to the sorrow of the dedicated agents who are angry at the agents who did so.