2018 Agenda: Could Bipartisan Infrastructure Save DACA?

In the wake of the tax bill, President Donald Trump shifted his confrontational tactics. After the president signed the partisan legislation, the White House changed its tone. To that end, the administration announced it will seek bipartisan support for an infrastructure bill in 2018. While many factors need negotiation, Trump’s tactics provided an opportunity for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to survive.

Legislative Roadblocks.

The president hurt his chances for Democratic support by utilizing toxic rhetoric. For example, in Alabama’s recent special election, Trump endorsed accused child predator Roy Moore (R-AL) over Doug Jones (D-AL). Despite Moore’s past tendencies to subvert laws, he claimed Moore was better than Jones on crime. In reality, Jones built a strong anti-crime reputation when he helped convict Ku Klux Klan murderers in the late 1990s.

Now, Trump expressed a desire to work with the opposition he bitterly fought. On Twitter, he said,

“At some point, and for the good of the country, I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a Bipartisan fashion…it is time to start rebuilding our country!”

By @realDonaldTrump / Via Twitter

According to CNN, the White House planned to make infrastructure their primary goal in early 2018. Since it will take 60 votes to pass, the administration knew it would need Democratic support. While most Democrats showed openness to infrastructure discussion, the president’s paltry 35 percent approval rating might generate opposition. With mid-term elections nearing, some lawmakers might find it advantageous opposing him.

Complicating matters, the president originally promised a $1 trillion infrastructure bill during his campaign. Now, White House officials said the president planned to put forward a different proposal. Planning to pitch his infrastructure bill in January, Trump’s guidelines would recommend $200 billion. An additional $800 billion would go to state and local governments. Democrats showed a preference for their own $500 billion dollar plan.

Negotiation Opportunities

Despite differences, many Democrats agreed with needing an infrastructure bill. Since Republicans will need their help, some saw this as an opportunity to bring key issues to the negotiation table.

On Tuesday, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) appeared on CNN’s New Day to discuss the issue. There, she expressed interest in working with Trump on infrastructure in exchange for the president working with Democrats on DACA. Dingell said,

“I’ll work with him on infrastructure if he’ll work with us.”

Continuing, she said, “First of all we got DACA. He agrees with us on DACA.”

Image By Vox / Via YouTube

Dingell reminded CNN that both Democrats and Republicans believe DACA should be worked on. Furthermore, she expressed the Democratic desire for improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Michigan representative stated the need for lowering drug prices and pushed for providing a way to sustain healthcare coverage. Concerning healthcare, she said:

“Ok, we don’t agree on health care, but I certainly don’t believe this man wants to see 13 million people suddenly not have access to health care.”

While attempted ACA repeal and passing unbalanced tax reform hurt cross-party relations, opportunity remained. Trump’s desire for an infrastructure bill combined with the need for bipartisan support brought new life to Democratic issues. Future negotiations are key to DACA’s survival. Now, the DREAMers might regain the much-needed protections they once had.