Schumer's sell is that Democrats successfully squeezed out of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a pledge to work in the coming weeks toward legal status for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
“After several discussions, offers and counteroffers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement,” Schumer said Monday on the Senate floor. “We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement isn't reached by February the 8th, the Senate will immediately proceed to the consideration of legislation dealing with DACA immediately after the expiration of the bill on Feb. 8. That process will be neutral and fair to all sides. We expect that a bipartisan bill on DACA will receive fair consideration and an up-or-down vote on the floor.”
McConnell stopped well short of promising that Republicans will actually vote in favor of allowing DACA recipients to stay in the country, however, and President Trump said in a statement that “we will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it's good for our country.”
As Schumer tries to convince Democratic voters that the shutdown produced a victory, it appears that he will do so without the assistance of would-be allies in the media, who were generally unimpressed by what he achieved Monday. Much of the criticism has centered on Schumer's apparent willingness to trust McConnell.
“McConnell says a lot of things,” Ryan Koronowski wrote on ThinkProgress. “Then he does whatever he wants.”
“McConnell, after all, promised Jeff Flake that he would hold a vote on DACA in exchange for Flake's vote in favor of tax reform — a promise he hasn't kept so far,” Alex Shephard wrote in the New Republic. “There is no reason to believe he'll keep his word this time, especially since every time Republicans have a chance to pass legislation to protect the Dreamers, they have chosen not to.”
Goldberg opined that “McConnell has already demonstrated that his word is worth little. In December, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted for her party's tax bill after receiving what she said was an 'ironclad' commitment from McConnell to take up further legislation on health care by the end of 2017. No such legislation has been forthcoming.”
The consensus on the left side of the media is that Schumer made a fool's bargain. He could prove skeptics wrong over the next two weeks, of course, but for now he is not getting the benefit of the doubt.