December 10, 2017

Sunday School 12/10/17

We're back to our regular Sunday School programming, after last week's look at religion and politics.

Today, I dropped in on Face the Nation on CBS. One of John Dickerson's guests was Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who talked about Roy Moore, Al Franken, and funding the government.

Durbin followed Susan Collins (R-ME) on the show, so some of his questions drive from her answers. You know how that goes.

On the Roy Moore issue, Dickerson asked Durbin whether the Senate has any business overturning the will of the people, if they do in fact elect Moore this week.
Well, John, I can tell you this. First, the decision is to be made by the voters in Alabama on Tuesday. And I hope they will do the right thing in terms of defining their standards and values when it comes to people representing them in Washington. But we have heard from Republican senators first who have suggested that if Roy Moore ends up being elected to the Senate, he would face close scrutiny, investigation, even removal from the Senate once he arrives.
I agree with Senator Collins; it's a complicated issue. (Note: Collins described it as a very tough decision.) But I tell you this. We faced the reality this past week. I've known Al Franken for over 20 years. He is my friend. He was on the floor of the Senate announcing his resignation; I sat just a few feet away from him. He said it was the worst day in his political life. It was a somber feeling. It was a reality. And I hope the voters of Alabama appreciate that reality when they make their decision on Tuesday.
After Moore and Franken, the conversation turned to taxes. Dickerson wondered what the Democrats could do to change the bill, since it was moving to the conference committee with enough Republican votes to pass.
...Susan Collins made it clear she's still waiting before she makes her final decision. I think others are in the same position. Jeff Flake, for example, from Arizona made it clear that bringing up this issue about DACA and DREAMers is critical to his vote when it comes to tax. So I can't assume where the Republicans will end. But they have an awful lot to accomplish in a very short period of time.
Dickerson asked if getting a deal on DACA would be worth shutting down the government.
Well, I can tell you this. We don't want to see the government shut down. We want to move forward in a bipartisan fashion to solve our problems. We believe that DACA is central; the president is the one who made this the issue. September the 5th he eliminated the DACA program and put in doubt the future of over 780,000 people in America. And we want to get this done and accomplished.
34 Republicans in the House came out last week and said, "Do it before the end of the year." The Senate Republicans have said the same thing. Lisa Murkowski yesterday tweeted that her Christmas wish - her greatest Christmas wish is to see this done, DACA and the DREAMer issue resolved, this calendar year. It is within the power of the Republicans to get this done and to put together a package we can pass. We want to stand by them, work with them, and get that done. 
And, there's the Children's Health Insurance program, too, that needs to be dealt with. Dickerson reminded Durbin about a statement he made
I'm not prepared to go home for the holidays until we get our work done.
Was that still the case, Dickerson wondered?
Well, I feel very strongly about it...DACA to me personally and the DREAM Act are very personal and mean an awful lot. But when we're talking about funding our government, providing the resources and programs that many middle income families use across America, dealing with the opioid crisis, making certain that we take care of our veterans, making certain that we have the money for biomedical research, these are part of the conversation and part of the dialogue as we close down this budget. It is up to the Republicans to make a decision about what we will do. I think we can get this done. 
That's a nice dose of optimism there, and a good way to start the week.

See you around campus.

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