Tentative pact just political business as usual

Senate leaders have a tentative deal to avert a so-called government shutdown, apparently eliminating a chance to use the federal debt limit to force a compromise on immigration issues.

Some politicians, some columnist and even some ordinary people saw a glimmer of hope in the brief weekend shutdown showdown last month. The thought: Perhaps the need to increase the debt ceiling would compel congressional leaders to resolve a pair of immigration issues — the future of unauthorized youth brought to this country as children and strenghtening immigration policy by stressing E-Verify and/or increasing border secudity.

That kind of hope may be akin to viewing rainbows and unicorns through rose-colored glasses. Because — admit it — members of Congress already have reached an agreement on immigration.

Why change the way things are now? That would eliminate a key way for members of either major party to appeal to their constituents. There’s too much political hay — in the form of donations, endorsements and votes — to be made from milking the immigration issue, if you excuse the mixed metaphor.

This sentiment extends to dealing with the national debt and budget imbalances. That can effectively would be kicked safely past the mid-term elections with the budget pact announced Wednesday.

Plus, remember the sequestration caps dating to 2011 — a supposed step toward balancing the budget? Those would be lifted, too.

The agreement, if approved by both house of Congress, would put the nation deeper into debt to allow more to be spent on domestic programs favored by one party and defense outlays favored by the other.

If you had wanted for a compromise, you might get one. Just not the one for which you had hoped.

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