Pelosi Demands Democrats Stand Firm in Face of Shutdown Threats
With the deadline to avoid a government shutdown looming at midnight Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is urging all fellow Democrats to oppose another stopgap funding extension unless it includes measures to satisfy Democratic priorities. The key demand is a resolution to the DACA uncertainty created by the Trump administration’s efforts to terminate the program unless broader immigration reform is enacted. Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth put it in the simplest terms, “No Democrats are going to vote for it.”
A bipartisan deal was floated by a group of Senators dubbed the “Gang of Six” but it appears to have little hope of passage. Perhaps that owes to the makeup of the “gang” involved? The Republicans include Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Cory Gardner of Colorado. Democrats include Dick Durbin of Illinois, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey. There are no immigration hardliners in there, but both Durbin and Flake have spoken out strongly against President Trump this week, if that qualifies as bipartisanship?
Texas Senator John Cornyn labeled the deal “dead on arrival” in a tweet:
The “Gang of Six” deal to fix DACA will not get a vote in the House or the Senate because POTUS will not sign it. Let's go back to the drawing board and get this done: Border Security, end Diversity Visa Lottery, limit chain migration, and fix DACA
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) January 17, 2018
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is making an effort to pass legislation in the House to avert a shutdown and to lay the responsibility for continuing government operations at the feet of Senate Democrats. The House plan would provide stopgap spending through February 16th. It would also extend the Children’s health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, a key priority for Democrats. To ensure Republican support in the House, the bill would delay some of the Affordable Care Acts taxes (on so-called “Cadillac insurance plans” and medical devices) again for another two years. Also under consideration is a pay raise for military members.
Effectively, Republicans will give the Democrats a victory on CHIP (which should really be a bipartisan issue) while giving themselves a chance too tout another tax cut. If it appears Senate Democrats will get onboard (it needs 60 votes), there will be no changes. But if Senate Democrats appear to be ready to stand firm. Republicans can include the military pay increase in the bill which would make Senate Democrats’ “No” votes much more difficult to defend in November.
The attacks have already begun on some of the more conservative sites like the Daily Caller. Republican Congressman Jason Lewis of Minnesota described it this way, “We’re going to send it over to the Senate and the Senate Democrats will have to decide whether they are willing to shut down the government over their demands.”
Here is a prime example of how the Make America Great Again crowd will spin things if the government shuts down:
Democrats to Force Military to Go Without Pay in Favor to Illegal Immigrantshttps://t.co/10tyGQh2up
Shutting down the government puts our brave men and women in uniform at risk. Don’t let these obstructionist Democrats delay and distract away from #ImmigrationReform #DACA pic.twitter.com/snSPGSCP1B
— Paul A. Gutierrez (@PGutierrez630) January 17, 2018
Recent polling shows (as is usually the case) that the Democratic position reflects that of the majority of Americans on the issue. Fully 86% of Americans support the right for continued residency for undocumented immigrants brought to America as children. This is not about amnesty, or a path to citizenship. This is about doing what is right and fair.
More importantly, it is about Congress doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. Now. Not next month when the next budget extension runs out. Not in March when facing President Trump’s deadline for a DACA deal. Now. We will not take “No” for an answer again. Good to know Leader Pelosi has our backs.
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Dave Weaver is a freelance political journalist and author. Born in Pennsylvania, which was home most of his life, Dave has called Maryland, New York, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, and Maine home over the last decade. All the wandering has allowed Dave to experience America (and Americans) from a variety of perspectives. For a political junkie, the insights gained from this exposure are invaluable.