Even as House Democrats push for impeachment, they’re also showing a willingness to work with President Donald Trump.
The unusual spectacle began yesterday when Democrats announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) less than an hour after announcing articles of impeachment against Trump. Immediately, the move drew criticism from anti-Trump factions of the left.
“Nothing more perfectly embodies the Democratic party than announcing articles of impeachment and a huge deal with the president on his single biggest priority on the same day,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted.
Ryan Grim, a reporter at The Intercept, shared his own disappointment.
“Democrats thinking they’ll get credit for working with Republicans on NAFTA 2 are either delusional or lying to cover for their actual agenda, supporting the corporate interests (pharma, tech) who want this trade deal,” he said on Twitter.
Pelosi has literally scheduled back-to-back press conferences to announce articles of impeachment against Trump and then support for his trade deal.— Will Stancil (@whstancil) December 10, 2019
This is insane. What is the message here pic.twitter.com/QGlHjM7JOK
But according to The New York Times, this is just the beginning. As the year comes to a close, The Times reports that House Democrats are planning to help push through a number of Trump priorities. Along with USMCA, they’re expected to pass legislation this week on lowering the cost of prescription drugs, another Trump campaign promise. There’s also going to be a vote on a defense bill Wednesday or Thursday, which could end up being the largest defense spending bill in United States history.
“Looking like very good Democrat support for USMCA,” the president tweeted yesterday. “That would be great for our Country!”
House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), who has long claimed Democrats could “walk and chew gum at the same time,” or legislate and hold Trump accountable simultaneously, said the sudden burst of bipartisan cooperation was a product of the legislative calendar, which ends December 20th.
“It’s just as we get to the end of a session, there have to be some decisions made,” she said during the news conference on trade, adding, “We didn’t know what day it would be.”
But there are some politics involved. Pelosi is both trying to prove Democrats can deliver on their legislative agenda, according to The Times, and trying to strip Trump of his argument that the “do-nothing Democrats” are too focused on impeachment to work. Pelosi has also privately expressed concern that vulnerable House Democrats in pro-Trump districts need to have something to show their constituents when they go home for break.
While Trump and House Republicans don’t appear prepared to give Democrats credit — both criticized Democrats into Wednesday for holding up USMCA — House Democrats remain optimistic that the calculation will pay off.
“We want to leave on a positive message,” Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democratic leader, told The Times. “We need to keep the trains moving if we’re going to get out of here on the 20th having done what we want to get done.”