Tonight’s speech could offer start to accord
President Donald Trump may have much to say on a great number of topics today, when he delivers his postponed State of the Union speech. But many listeners, perhaps including the woman who is to be seated directly behind Trump, may be listening closely for comments on a single subject: “the wall.”
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is to be seated behind and slightly above the president during his speech. It is she who is responsible for the address not being delivered last month. In a demonstration of her political muscle, Pelosi refused to allow the speech to be delivered during the just-ended partial shutdown of federal government.
That ended only after an agreement between the White House and Pelosi to reopen agencies that had been closed for more than a month in a dispute over funding for new barriers to block illegal immigration across our border with Mexico. The deal was to provide three weeks of funding for the agencies, during which the White House and Democrat leaders would negotiate some agreement regarding the barriers.
Trump has said he wants $5.7 billion for “the wall.” Pelosi has offered one dollar. And, with the three-week truce roughly half over, it appears there has been little or no progress on a compromise.
Clearly, then, what happens next will be on many minds tonight. Trump may use the occasion to outline his position and, no doubt, the official Democrat response may offer that party’s reasons for rejecting it.
This just will not work. Politics is supposed to be the art of compromise, but there has been precious little of that seen in the current stalemate.
Obviously, a compromise is possible. Its components could include some funding for barriers, some for the new electronic countermeasures Pelosi touts for border crossings, new equipment and personnel for border control and, perhaps, some way forward on other immigration issues such as that involving illegal immigrants brought here as children.
Let us hope the president offers a framework for a solution and that Pelosi accepts it.
A solution need not be terribly complicated. Millions of Americans recognize that — and wonder why both sides in the political duel cannot seem to understand it, too.