Shutdown will rest on the GOP

18 January, 2018, 14:07 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • U.S. President Donald Trump holds a Cabinet Meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington D.C

Congress faces a Friday deadline to pass a stopgap measure that would fund federal agencies until next month, BBC reported on Wednesday.

Negotiations between a bipartisan Senate group and the White House broke down last week in an acrimonious meeting at which Trump reportedly expressed his preference for immigrants from Norway over those who hail from Haiti and African nations.

Democrats said they won't support any spending bill that does not include protections for young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children and will lose their protected status in March.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) held a press conference Wednesday night, calling out Democrats for not being willing to come to the table and bang out a stopgap funding bill, which in one form would reauthorize six years more years of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

That will put pressure on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., to again muster enough votes from his majority to pass a bill without support from Democrats.

"Well, at the risk of being repetitious, I'm looking for something that President Trump supports", McConnell told reporters. Trump has said he'll cancel the program - known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA - in March if no agreement emerges.

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Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said she won't support it.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly met with top Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday to resume immigration talks after days of sniping over vulgar remarks attributed to the president about African nations and other countries in a January 11 Oval Office meeting. "Us staying here and working and finding a deal is what's going to help them", he said. "This is likely to be a week of brinkmanship and the potential of a government shutdown is elevated".

After they voted for the bill, many of them - some who are facing tough re-election campaigns this year - were hammered by immigration advocates and the Democratic base for doing just that. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who very publicly said he thought the President had signed on to the compromise DACA plan last Thursday, but then had his mind changed by immigration hard liners in the White House, and the Senate.

Many Democrats in Congress have insisted that immigration be a component of the temporary spending bill.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are pushing GOP leadership to tie a legislative solution for DACA to the must-pass spending bill.

The restive House Freedom Caucus made a bid Tuesday to have a full-year defense spending bill inserted into the stopgap but appeared to be rebuffed.

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The negotiating climate has become increasingly poisonous after a sudden halt last week in talks toward a deal to shield the Dreamers - immigrants brought into the country illegally as children - from deportation.

Congress has two days to strike a deal to keep the government funded through October. A GOP aide said Republican leaders were angling to keep the measure as it was presented initially to lawmakers, but didn't rule out adding provisions - like pay raises for the military - to sweeten the deal.

"The Durbin-Graham-Flake proposal would do nothing to solve the underlying problem in our current immigration system", they said in a statement. The Trump administration set a March 5 deadline for ending DACA and many Democrats believe that recipients of that program of can't wait any longer to have certainty.

"They claim they don't want to shut down the government, so it seems to me it would be a rather attractive package", McConnell said.

However, the Republican leader said he was waiting to find out what Trump would support before devoting floor time to any immigration bill.

"Until further notice. the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded" by Trump, a spokesperson for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday.

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"So Democrats are now threatening to shut down the government if they don't get amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants".

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