WASHINGTON (WCMH) – On Capitol Hill, last week was devoted to trying to reach an agreement on spending with defense and immigration and trying to figure out the ever-changing polices of President Donald Trump.
Ohio lawmakers in Washington say even when there seems to be progress in deals between Democrats and Republicans on key policy issues, there are fears the president will simply switch gears and tweet something completely different.
“Sometimes you do have kind of ups and downs,” said Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. “One person says one thing in the administration, maybe the president and others say other things, and of course it gets frustrating. But at the end of the day, I do think in this case, and certainly with the tax reform bill and other issues like the opioids, they do want to come to a solution.”
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty said President Donald Trump is hindering negotiations.
“One week, he is working toward a compromise, he is inviting Democrats and Republicans to come together, and in the middle of the meeting he goes to the left and to the right,” she said. “I think he is a rebel without a clue.”
Even Republican lawmakers are frustrated with Trump’s ever-changing positions on key policy matters. Sen. Lindsey Graham called it a “s***show,” frustrated that he and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin worked out a compromise on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that the president rejected.
Democrats say with the GOP controlling both Congress and the White House, they are swimming upstream.
“It is very frustrating for us,” Beatty said. “You know, I came to Congress to be a voice for the voiceless. I came to Congress to be a bridge builder.”
Despite frustrations, Portman said there is more bipartisan agreement on issues like DACA – and immigration overall – than most people realize, but the budget process itself is flawed.
“It makes no sense and what we should be doing instead is going through the process of passing the appropriations bills,” he said.
Portman also favors a two-year budget and is sponsoring a bill that he believes would end government shutdowns.
“The legislation says you simply continue the spending from the previous year if you can’t reach an agreement on all the appropriations bills,” he said. “But that spending is slightly reduced over time until you get your act together and pass the spending bills.”
Portman and Beatty are both calling for bipartisan cooperation, a unified effort to move the budget forward and find protections for Dreamers.