Political infighting is taking place between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the two most powerful Democrats in Congress. The duo usually see eye-to-eye on things and stand with one another when it comes to stopping President Donald Trump's political agenda. But now, Pelosi says she was blind sighted when the Senate passed a bipartisan border bill, with most Democrats going along with the legislation, the Washington Post revealed.
Pelosi was planning to push for a more liberal border bill in the House and wanted Schumer to push Senate Democrats to support what she came up with. But Schumer "kneecapped the House and marked the most embarrassing defeat for Pelosi in the six months since Democrats took over the chamber," WaPo reported.
The liberal news outlet spoke with 18 Democratic lawmakers and aides about the situation. Some spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could fully disclose what actually took place between the Democratic leaders.
“Schumer destroyed all our leverage on Wednesday by not being able to hold his people,” said a senior House Democratic aide.
Schumer, however, felt Pelosi failed to deliver a bill. And the clock was ticking.
Not only that, but, according to an aide, Pelosi never asked Schumer keep a vote from taking place.
“The Senate Democrats did us a huge disservice,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The benefit to having one chamber controlled by Democrats is you have people who can fight and win. But that requires the people in the minority chamber to also fight, even if they lose.”
Another Democratic aide said they thought Schumer was "very antsy and wanted to go and was not willing for Pelosi to work through her internal caucus issues. It wasn’t that we weren’t interested; I think that we had boxes we needed to check.”
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Read's Communications Director, Jim Manley, had a different take.
“I don’t quite understand what the House folks were hoping for here. .?.?. They should have acted on this bill weeks ago," Manley told WaPo. “These things happen. The tension comes from the difference in the rules. .?.?. The House also has always had a much more diverse caucus than the Senate, and that makes dealing with the House from the perspective of the Senate leader much more difficult.”
Democratic aides from both chambers said the issue could have been avoided but the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus "were wary of backing any hastily negotiated deal."
When the House decided to do nothing about the immigration crisis, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he'd bring about a border bill before the chamber went on recess in July. Instead of getting stuck with a Republican bill, Democrats in the Senate decided to negotiate. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), two of the longest serving members of Congress, were chosen to handle the negotiations.
Senate Democrats were happy with the compromise bill because "migrants would receive humanitarian aid while allocating no new funding for migrant detention beds; had a strict prohibition on using the funding for a border wall or to bulk up immigration enforcement; and established new standards for facilities while also delivering funding for immigration judges and $30 million in grants to nonprofits caring for migrants."
The deal wasn't a win for the Trump administration, who asked for more funding for detention beds, Border Patrol agents and border wall funding.