Back in September before the last threatened government shutdown, Donald Trump surprisingly worked out a deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to keep the government open and raised expectations that a deal could be struck on DACA and the DREAMers. I warned you at the time, A DACA deal with ‘Amnesty Don’? Don’t believe it until it actually happens.
The Trump administration had rescinded DACA in early September, giving Congress a March 5 deadline to pass a bill allowing its nearly 690,000 beneficiaries to stay and work in the United States.
It was not long afterwards that Trump reneged on his deal for DACA and the DREAMers. Deal making with the devil on DACA. I warned you.
The next deadline for a government shutdown is Friday, December 8. Democrats have vowed to withhold votes from the spending bill should it not address DACA and the DREAMers. Government shutdown looms in December over DACA.
A government shutdown now appears more likely after the antics of our Twitter-troll-in-chief today. “President Trump on Tuesday cast doubt on Washington’s ability to avoid a government shutdown, writing on Twitter that he didn’t believe a deal could be reached with Democrats.” Trump: ‘I don’t see a deal’ to avoid government shutdown:
The tweet came hours before Trump was to meet at the White House with GOP congressional leaders as well as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Ah, now there’s the “@realDonaldTrump” we all know and despise, the xenophobic, anti-immigrant white nationalist racist who takes his cues from his alt-right white nationalist advisers, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, who are willing to take the DREAMers hostage in order to extort funding from Congress for Trump’s “big beautiful wall” along the Mexican border that even the GOP leadership in Congress does not want and has not provided funding.
Trump’s tweet blew up any hope for a bipartisan kumbaya moment like we witnessed last September. Pelosi, Schumer pull out of White House meeting over spending:
In response, Schumer and Pelosi said that “rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement,” they wanted to meet alone with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
“If the president, who already said earlier this year that ‘our country needs a good shutdown,’ isn’t interested in addressing the difficult year-end agenda, we’ll work with those Republicans who are,” they said.
(Trump has explicitly threatened a government shutdown twice this year, and he dangled the possibility again with his Tuesday morning tweet.)
Back to The Hill:
Democrats have demanded that a funding deal include language to protect young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” who are threatened with deportation next year because of Trump’s decision to end an Obama-era program.
The White House and Republicans in Congress have countered with heavy demands on border enforcement.
The current funding bill, brokered in a surprise deal between Trump and Democrats in September that caught Republicans off-guard, expires on Dec. 8. The deal also irritated congressional Republicans and conservatives, which could explain Trump’s tweet on Tuesday.
In the past, Trump has flirted with the idea of a government shutdown, saying that it might be necessary in order to win support for a wall on the Mexican border.
There has been some talk of a short-term deal, lasting a matter of weeks, that could provide time for the White House and lawmakers to negotiate a longer funding deal for the rest of the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30.
Another complication is the fight over separate legislation to change the tax code. Democrats oppose the measure, which may receive a Senate vote this week.
Trump hopes to complete work on the tax bill before the end of the year, but that will require Senate passage and then another round of talks to work out differences between the House and Senate tax bills. Both chambers would also have to vote on the compromise bill.
All of that has the potential to raise tensions surrounding the funding bill, where Democrats and Republicans have differences that go well beyond the thorny immigration issue.
The Washington Post recently editorialized, The fates of 700,000 ‘dreamers’ hang in the balance. This one should not be hard for Congress.
AsCongress dithers, the fates of some 700,000 “dreamers,” undocumented young immigrants brought to the United States as children, hang in the balance. Legions of chief executives, university presidents, advocacy groups and others have pleaded for lawmakers to lift the veil of uncertainty under which these immigrants, American in all but the legal sense, have lived since September, when the Trump administration announced it planned to end the protection from deportation they have enjoyed since 2012. Despite those pleas, Congress, facing a March deadline, has provided no legal means for dreamers to remain in the country where they’ve grown up, gone to school, worked and, in most cases, paid taxes.
Instead, the dreamers have become a bargaining chip, held in reserve by politicians seeking political advantage in Washington’s unending partisan battles. Large majorities of Americans favor allowing dreamers to stay in this country legally, as do top executives across the technology, retail, financial and other sectors. Still, an eminently solvable problem remains unsolved.
The haggling over dreamers is Washington at its dysfunctional worst. President Trump pledged publicly to back a straightforward deal with the Democrats under which the immigrants are granted legal status, in return for some simple concessions on border security. Then, under pressure from hard-liners in the Republican base, he pivoted to a set of maximalist demands, including funding to build a border wall and reductions in legal immigration. Some Republican lawmakers sponsored a bill to put dreamers on a path to citizenship but attached conditions — for instance, barring them for at least 15 years from sponsoring relatives for green cards — more onerous than those faced by previous immigrant groups.
Democrats, having failed for more than 15 years to enact legislation to allow dreamers to stay in the country, now threaten to block a must-pass spending bill, potentially shutting down the government, unless the measure is amended to resolve the impasse. Republicans say that’s unacceptable.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on dreamers, most of them in their teens, 20s and early 30s. Owing to the administration’s decision to terminate Obama-era protections for them, about 30,000 will lose their protected status each month starting in March unless Congress acts. That means that in addition to becoming eligible for deportation, they will also lose permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration axed, that enable many of them to enroll in college with in-state tuition subsidies, work legally and obtain valid state driver’s licenses.
Last month, tech giants such as Intel, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others joined a lobbying coalition organized to urge Congress to act to protect dreamers. Not to worry, said House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.): A fix is in the works. But in the next breath, Mr. Ryan said any fix would require “a lot of other things” in the way of border enforcement. That suggests Republicans are more interested in exacting concessions than in protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have built lives in this country. Not exactly a recipe for hope.
The battle lines are drawn. It would appear that a government shutdown is inevitable over DACA in December. And it is the children of DACA who are being used as political pawns who may ultimately pay the price by being deported.