Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Scalise: Where Is Pelosi's New DACA Push Coming From?

Nancy Pelosi Paul Ryan Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan. AP
Ellis Copeland | 12 February, 2018, 02:23

So where does that put things now that this budget deal has passed? He says the two parties will then alternate offering immigration plans in a battle that has no clear outcome. But top Democrats said they weren't corralling rank-and-file lawmakers to oppose the budget pact, leading some of the party's immigration advocates to question the forcefulness of her opposition.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the deal will provide "certainty" for the next two years and achieves a "much needed" increase in funding for the national defense.

The contours of that bill are not yet clear.

In the meantime, Congress is also working on a short-term spending measure to keep the government open past a Thursday night deadline.

Pelosi and other Democratic leaders tried to balance calls from the grassroots to reject any budget bill lacking an immigration component against the realities of being the minority party and the consequences of another government shutdown. She has said she supports the substance of Schumer's budget deal, but wants to extract an explicit promise from House Speaker Paul Ryan that he'll bring a Dreamer bill to the floor soon, similar to the promise Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made as part of a deal to end the brief government shutdown in January.

Pelosi has been sharing statements from DACA recipients about themselves and their successes in the US. "We have always said nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to". Between 10am and 6.10pm, the 77-year-old Democratic leader in the House of Representatives stood in 4-inch heels, reading heart-wrenching letters from high-achieving young immigrants and quoting from the Bible and Pope Francis. But many Democrats backed the spending measure without that assurance.

"We have a moral responsibility to act now", she said. Leadership's unwillingness to gamble on another government shutdown, the minority party's lone meaningful recourse, has left them unarmed and aimless.

"She kind of threw us under the bus", he said. "Her marathon was important because it focused on the kids and it also refocused attention on this issue, and I appreciate that". Republicans locked it in without giving away anything new on immigration.

Flake said Trump "sees a political downside of not fixing" DACA. Many others, however, said after the caucus meeting that they weren't sure how they would vote, and several said they had no comment to share. All we know is that Speaker Ryan says he wants to get to work.

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Democrats expressed frustration with Ryan's stance, arguing they could force Trump's hand by passing a bipartisan compromise.

After he signed the budget plan into law Friday, Trump tweeted that, "fortunately, DACA [is] not included in this bill". That bill would extend temporary protective status for those now enrolled in DACA while making more specific cuts to family immigration and end the diversity lottery system. But they are not, and that's what gives Democrats the leverage they have.

"It certainly moved the right flank off the debate from the Goodlatte proposal to citizenship to over 1.8 million", said Dan Holler of the conservative group Heritage Action. Trump gave Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix.

"I would like to think the president is going to support the bill we advance".

Republican Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said he's been urging fellow moderates to use their numbers the way that conservatives on the right flank do.

But to get to 218 Republicans, he had to play ball with the Freedom Caucus members, who were able to secure a handful of promises in exchange for votes.

But Republicans acknowledge the president will have critical sway in the process. "It won't pass in the House".

The fate of immigration policy in the House has liberal activists most concerned. But it's unclear what other legislation will be ready as alternatives. And that's not something that Republicans want to do because they said they would protect these people. "The fundamental strategy ... is to raise the moral and political pressure on Republicans as well as Democrats to resolve this crisis". His Republican colleague from Miami, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, voted no on the budget bill this morning for exactly that reason. "He's going to have to bring it to the floor".

KELLY: That's NPR congressional reporter Kelsey Snell.

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