ChrisWeigant.com

A Face-Saving Border Wall Compromise Everyone Could Live With

[ Posted Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 – 17:43 PST ]

President Trump sat down today with the Democratic and Republican congressional leadership, in an attempt to hash out a compromise on immigration (specifically, the DACA program that Trump suspended). The larger budget negotiations may hinge on getting such a deal, but at this point the two sides are pretty far apart. Where Trump stands on the issue is pretty clear, which is to say he just wants to sign something and doesn't really care what's in it. This was evidenced by him appearing to agree with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer about the need for a "clean DACA" bill in the negotiations, only to be yanked back by the Republicans in the room who want a whole lot more than a clean DACA bill. But it's obvious Trump just wants a bill to sign, no matter what it contains.

The Republicans have decided that Democrats want a DACA fix (to protect the "Dreamers" from deportation) so badly that it offers them a golden opportunity to radically restructure the entire immigration system. They want an end to family-based immigration (which they call "chain migration"), and an end to the lottery system for green cards. Democrats, obviously, are not going to agree to any of that.

Democrats, however, are divided over just how hard to push on the clean DACA bill. Some want to take it to the brink, and threaten a government shutdown if they don't get what they want. The Democratic leadership seems more cautious, fearful that such a move could backfire politically.

The obvious area for compromise is on border security. Now, this means different things to different people, and the most contentious item is Donald Trump's "build a wall" campaign promise -- which Democrats have sworn not to fund in any way, shape, or form. Democrats, however, seem willing to allow Republicans to throw lots of money at the Border Patrol for all sorts of other border security measures, including drones and electronic scanning devices, as well as beefing up the Border Patrol even more than has already been done.

But it seems to me that there's a beautiful solution to the problem that could allow everyone to save face, while still not crossing any real red lines on either side. Such a plan, ideally, would be personally pitched to Donald Trump by the Democrats. If they can get Trump on board, then he can force Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to go along with it, one assumes. But since it's designed to tempt Trump alone, this might actually work.

Democrats should announce that they are offering a compromise to Republicans. The DACA fix (essentially, the original DREAM Act) would pass with some additional money for non-wall border security. There would be no sweeping changes to immigration policy (such as ending family immigration or the visa lottery), but Democrats would allow Trump a path to building his wall.

The key would be the money. Democrats could propose the creation of a special account at the U.S. Treasury for border wall funds. No American taxpayer money would be allowed to be deposited into this account, though. Instead, it would be an escrow account that could only accept money from Mexico, specifically earmarked to pay for the wall. This would allow Trump to completely fulfill his campaign promise, as it was originally made. It would be the perfect answer to all of those: "Who's going to pay for it? MEXICO!" campaign rally moments.

Democrats could claim they had given Trump all the budgetary flexibility he needs to build his wall, as he originally promised to do. Trade negotiations are about to get rather intense in the next few weeks, and reportedly this will be a large part of Trump's upcoming State Of The Union speech, so it could fit right in with that. If Trump can convince Mexico to pay for a border wall, then Democrats will not stand in the way of its construction. Democrats would even facilitate it by creating the special account for all the Mexican money to flow into, so the wall could be properly funded and built. Language within the bill would make it explicit that the only money from Mexico that could legally go into this account would be money from an explicit bilateral U.S.-Mexican deal to pay for the border wall (in other words, it'd have to be on paper that Mexico had agreed to such a scheme). But, of course, Democrats would also be holding Trump to his own promise -- that no American taxpayer money would be used at all for Trump's wall.

Democrats could rightly claim that they had offered Trump exactly what he told all his followers he was going to do. In offering such a deal to Trump, they would be challenging him to make good on his original promise. If Trump is truly the dealmaker he thinks he is, then this shouldn't be all that hard to accomplish, right? If Democrats could get Trump enthusiastically behind such a plan, it could break the logjam over the budget negotiations and both sides would have saved a considerable amount of face.

Democrats, of course, would know that the possibility of Mexico agreeing to fund the wall was precisely nada, meaning the wall would never actually get built. But they could also claim that they were not standing in the way of such a wall being built -- far from it -- instead, that they had created the mechanism and framework for its creation on precisely the terms Trump promised so many times. Trump could claim he had strongarmed the Democrats into agreeing to his wall, so he'd be equally happy. It's pretty easy to see how each side would spin it. If Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump were all on the same page, they could force Ryan and McConnell to bring such a bill to the floor for a vote.

Of course, as with all legislation these days, it'd have to have a catchy name. I propose that the new Treasury account be legally named the "Southern Border Wall Escrow (National Offset)" account, or "SBWE(NO) account." This would, of course, be pronounced: "Es Bueno." Because it's all good, right?

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

34 Comments on “A Face-Saving Border Wall Compromise Everyone Could Live With”

  1. [1] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: "SBWE(NO) account." This would, of course, be pronounced: "Es Bueno." Because it's all good, right?

    Es bueno para mi ... una excelente solucion.

    Would it surprise anybody... anyone at all... if a large portion of "the wall" turns out to be just a fence... very much like the one that's been there for quite awhile now?

  2. [2] 
    neilm wrote:

    Kick [1] - well a fence is just another term for a see though wall, which is 45's latest incarnation of the "big beautiful wall" he has promised Mexico would pay for.

    Frankly, if I was Mexican President, I'd offer to pay for the wall to a maximum cost of $20B then cut a nifty NAFTA deal that would generate repatriation fees of $1B/year for the next 25 years for all the deportees that Mexico would otherwise refuse to accept from the U.S.

    This can be spun in both countries as a win and if the Democrats enable it with "Wall Bonds" that deliver the $20B up front to build the Wall, with the U.S. paying $1B/year in "Border Repatriation Security Costs" to Mexico to cover the costs of repatriation as an increase in "Border Security" spending that the Republicans can point to.

    1. 45 gets Mexico to pay for his Wall
    2. Republicans point to $1B/year for 25 years increased spending on shipping out illegals
    3. Democrats get DACA
    4. Mexicans get $1B/year to cover the bonds for the Wall

    Win-win-win-win ... except the dumb American taxpayers - but who cares about them.

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Kick [1] -

    I have to admit, I had to run the Spanish by a friend of mine to make sure it was OK. I took French in school, and am hopeless in Espanol. Here's my total Spanish vocabulary, all learned from a Fat Freddy cartoon:

    "Otre cervesa, por favor!"
    "Cervesa mas fria!"

    That's about it, really. Heh. Well, that and what I pick up from Pollo Loco commercials...

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Kick wrote:

    Neil
    2

    I like this plan of yours, and I sure like your way of thinking!

    Win-win-win-win ... except the dumb American taxpayers - but who cares about them.

    But, Neil... it would be so much easier to tell you who doesn't care about them. :)

    Hey, Neil, remember that time about a month into the Trump administration when we were discussing Herb McMaster and how we will know just how hopeless things are in the White House "if/when McMaster decides to resign" and would "ultimately depend on 45 and whether or not PT insists on cultivating the type of chaos in which cons like him thrive"?

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/02/20/rocky-starts-in-presidential-history/#comment-95218

    Well, I've seen several media reports that McMaster might be on his way out:

    Two of the most senior officials who are on the potential departure list are Don McGahn, the White House counsel, and HR McMaster, the national security adviser. The President, like with many of his advisers, has aired frustrations openly with both men. But it's far from certain whether either official will leave.

    The quote above is from CNN reporting, but I already used my one link. ;)

    McGahn will likely be a witness for Mueller, particularly if Bobby Three Sticks pursues a charge for obstruction of justice because Trump ordered McGahn to tell Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation (which as we know was ongoing months before the election), among other things to which McGahn can uniquely testify.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens next regarding rumor versus reality.

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, answered comments from yesterday:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2018/01/08/president-oprah/#comment-113690

    check it out...

    -CW

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, see, I am just proving my own ignorance here.

    That should be: "cerveza"!

    Mea culpa, or whatever that should be in Spanish...

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Oh, yeah, from both Westerns and from the soap opera Peggy Hill used to watch, here's my other Spanish phrase:

    Vaya con Dios!

    -CW

  8. [8] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW
    3

    Here's my total Spanish vocabulary, all learned from a Fat Freddy cartoon:

    "Otre cervesa, por favor!"
    "Cervesa mas fria!"

    Hey, those are the essential phrases and really pretty much all you need to know, with the exception of one more phrase:

    "Necesito algo de mala hierba." ~ "I need some weed." ;)

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    However way ya wanna spin it, it's still Democrats colluding with President Trump to build the wall..

    The Dumbocrat base will positively shit themselves...

    For me, personally, it's really a win/win..

    Either Democrats work with Trump on the wall, which will case the bases' collective heads to explode..

    Or Democrats shut down the government and pay the price in 2018.. :D

    Oh what a great time to be an American.. :D

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump’s Border Wall Would Use 0.034% of Federal Spending

    That $18 billion would equal just 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period.

    It also equals only 2.7 percent of the money the federal government will spend on the food stamp program (the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”), which will eat up $679 billion in the ten fiscal years from 2018 through 2027, according to CBO’s estimate.
    https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/trumps-border-wall-would-use-0039-federal-spending

  11. [11] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    On the Jesse Ventura phone call. I honestly don't remember when it was, but he was in office.

    It was before I had internet access or possibly before there was an internet at all and I was calling to get a mailing address to send him information. Sent the info, most likely about the Hundred Dollar Party and the unconstitutional election law that does not allow citizens to cast separate votes for parties and candidates, but got no answer.

    I also went to a book signing several years ago and gave him information on Voucher Vendetta with no response.

    When he had a short running TV show on one of the news channels (MSNBC?) I contacted him again without response, though I don't remember if that was before or after the book signing.

    I could look it up on the internet, but it is not an important detail. :D

    I used to agree with most of what Jesse Ventura said as a politician until he went off on the 911 conspiracy thing.

  12. [12] 
    Paula wrote:

    Graham and Grassley should resign or be removed from office for their treachery over the Steele Dossier. They went into those hearings with the intent of killing the messenger and no intention whatsoever of finding out anything about Russian interference. They've gone way past "partisan" into total abdication of responsibility for this nation's welfare.

    Maybe if Oprah starts to talk about it...

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    If Oprah starts to talk about it -- joke. Grim joke.

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    Darryl Issa will not seek reelection.

    He got what he wanted - tax cuts for himself. Now he can roll off into his cushy future, secure in the feeling of having made this country weaker, nastier, more vulnerable and insecure. But as a 1%-er he's just ducky!

  15. [15] 
    neilm wrote:

    Hey, Neil, remember that time about a month into the Trump administration when we were discussing Herb McMaster

    Good memory ... yup, the rumor mill is going strong on McMaster. He was overridden on the Afghan surge and it was tempered down to a ripple, and Bannon was leading the charge against him. He probably just wants away from this fiasco while he still has some dignity.

    On McGhan we have another character who was too close to the Comey firing decision - even though by all accounts he was against it.He is probably looking in the mirror and asking himself if the potential costs in legal fees plus the potential for being in the middle of another mess if 45 decides to fire Mueller is worth it.

    Looks like Kelly is holding strong. Does anybody have a link to the competition CW put up last year?

  16. [16] 
    neilm wrote:

    No worries - I found it:

    thestig: 8/21/17 - passed
    paula: 8/25/17 - passed
    listen: 10/1/17 - passed
    JM from Ct: 10/20/17 - passed
    altohone: 10/31/17 - passed
    CW: 11/12/17 - passed
    balthasar: 1/6/18 - passed
    nypoet22: 1/20/18
    BigGuy: 4/1/18
    kick: 5/11/18
    neil: 8/1/18
    Don: 1/20/21
    liz & JFC: abstain

    Source: http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/08/15/kelly-exit-contest/#comment-107997

  17. [17] 
    Paula wrote:

    [15] neilm: https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/white-house-fears-mass-staff-exodus/

    The White House has reportedly told staff to decide by the end of January if they will be leaving the administration or staying to battle it out in the November mid-terms.

    According to a source cited by CBS News, the White House is facing an exodus of staff drawn to higher pay packets in the private sector amid plunging morale and exhaustion.

    The notification is intended to give White House chief of staff John Kelly an idea of the number of staff intending to leave so the departures can be staggered, thus avoiding the impression of a rush to leave the embattled administration.

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW - I nominate senator Dianne Feinstein for Most Impressive Democrat of the Week for releasing the full transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee interview of Glenn Simpson back in August of last year.

    A lot of this interview is going to come up when Mueller interviews Trump. You can see why the Senate Majority did want this to go public.

    For those following the action at home:

    https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/read-the-full-transcript-of-glenn-simpsons-senate-testimony/2700/

    Spoiler alert: Trump Tower Orphans Meeting looms large.

    340 pages, but it's double spaced large font, so it is rough equivalent to 80 pages of regular text. Well worth a quick skim. The Examination Section starting on page 290 is particularly interesting.

  19. [19] 
    neilm wrote:

    Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, who leads the president's National Economic Council is cited describing Trump as an “idiot surrounded by clowns.”

    Cohn could have saved himself a lot of wasted time if he'd just read CW and the comments section - we all pretty much figured that out in 2015.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    thestig: 8/21/17 - passed
    paula: 8/25/17 - passed
    listen: 10/1/17 - passed
    JM from Ct: 10/20/17 - passed
    altohone: 10/31/17 - passed
    CW: 11/12/17 - passed
    balthasar: 1/6/18 - passed

    TS WRONG
    Paula WRONG
    Listen WRONG
    JM CT WRONG
    Altohone WRONG
    Balthy WRONG

    Call it like it is or don't call it at all... :D

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    According to a source cited by CBS News, the White House is facing an exodus of staff drawn to higher pay packets in the private sector amid plunging morale and exhaustion.

    Any FACTS to support the claim??

    Nope.. Just "anonymous sources"...

    Which is fine with ya'all... As long as they say what ya'all want to hear...

    Sad......

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    The notification is intended to give White House chief of staff John Kelly an idea of the number of staff intending to leave so the departures can be staggered, thus avoiding the impression of a rush to leave the embattled administration.

    Facts to support???

    Of course not...

    More bullshit for ya'all to slurp up...

    Sad.......

  23. [23] 
    neilm wrote:

    Trump’s Border Wall Would Use 0.034% of Federal Spending

    CHIP funding would be 0.020% of Federal Spending and save a lot of kids' lives.

    But you keep rationalizing make 45's construction buddies richer on dead kids' bodies.

  24. [24] 
    Paula wrote:

    [18] TS: the transcripts are damning on several levels.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, who leads the president's National Economic Council is cited describing Trump as an “idiot surrounded by clowns.”

    Facts to support???

    Look who I am asking for "facts"?? :^/

  26. [26] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Public opinion polls are presumably sternly saying to Darrell Issa "Please Step Away From the House of Representatives."

    Paula 18 - Among other things, the transcript alleges that Trump and his "organization" has been working with the Russian Mob for years. Years of collusion are driving Trump into obstruction of justice.

  27. [27] 
    Paula wrote:

    [26] TS: Yep. DT's been doing dirty Russia work for years, entirely unrelated to running for Pres.

  28. [28] 
    Paula wrote:

    Meanwhile: https://thinkprogress.org/kris-kobach-voter-fraud-findings-ebe089540ede/

    n a court filing on Tuesday, the White House announced that it had not uncovered any preliminary findings of voter fraud in the 2016 election and that it would be destroying confidential voter data initially collected for President Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission, which was disbanded on January 3.

    Won't keep Blotus from continuing to claim otherwise, of course.

  29. [29] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Also in the news - Trump is accused of raping and strangling The Star Spangled Banner in front of millions of witnesses.

  30. [30] 
    Paula wrote:

    [29] Yeah. Well, either Blotus never knew the words or he's forgotten them because he's in/going into dementia. Or faking going into dementia.

  31. [31] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm
    15

    On McGhan we have another character who was too close to the Comey firing decision - even though by all accounts he was against it. He is probably looking in the mirror and asking himself if the potential costs in legal fees plus the potential for being in the middle of another mess if 45 decides to fire Mueller is worth it.

    Yep, and they've got leverage over McGahn since they were questioning him when it was finally made public that Flynn had flipped. Imagine McGahn's surprise when that was dropped in his lap between questions; I can't say I believe that this incident was an accident. :)

    Looks like Kelly is holding strong. Does anybody have a link to the competition CW put up last year?

    Speaking of which, I see you posted it, and I must say that it sure looks like your guess is holding up very nicely. As this has played out, JL's date now appears too soon since Kelly is working desperately at the present time to fill upcoming unfilled positions TBA, and it's looking like Kelly is going to last longer than even I expected, though not as long as Don's guess, which seems too far out IMHO. :)

  32. [32] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    27

    [26] TS: Yep. DT's been doing dirty Russia work for years, entirely unrelated to running for Pres.

    Actually, there is thread that binds them together.
    I think now would be a good time to link back to this:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/05/17/kid-president/#comment-100153
    ________________________

    While in Moscow, Trump met with Russian oligarchs who were closely aligned with President Vladimir Putin, including Herman Gref, the chief executive officer of the state-controlled Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank. In 2014, the United States and the European Union sanctioned Sberbank in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The Russian market is attracted to me,” Trump said. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” he bragged. He tweeted, “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”

    The Bayrock Group’s Felix Sater emerges again during the Trump campaign and presidency. Sater contributed the maximum $5,400 to Donald Trump’s campaign. Then on February 19, 2017, the New York Times reported that “A week before Trump fired Michael Flynn resigned as national security advisor, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.”

    The Times said that three men were responsible for developing and delivering the plan: Andrew Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Andrii V. Artemenko, a pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian parliament.

    The third man was none other than Trump’s former business partner and convicted fraudster, Felix Sater. How and why Sater became involved with a key member of the Trump administration in the most sensitive of diplomatic transactions between the United States and Russia remains one of the many mysteries to be resolved by congressional and FBI investigators.

  33. [33] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    neilm [16] -

    Thanks!

    I've actually been meaning to update that for a while, so thanks for digging it out. Looks like we're about halfway through the schedule of guesses, with Kelly holding firm for now.

    Wish I'd done one of these for Rex Tillerson, too. I have a strong suspicion he'll be out by St. Pat's Day, personally...

    :-)

    -CW

  34. [34] 
    Paula wrote:

    [32] Thanks Kick.

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