News & Politics

Dems Threaten Government Shutdown Over DACA

(Sipa via AP Images)

The government will run out of money on December 8 and Democrats have already begun the annual game of “chicken.”

The Democrats are daring Republicans to put off taking up legislation on approving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, demanding that the issue be resolved before they vote for a new budget.

Without at least some Democratic support, a budget deal is not likely to pass congress.

The Hill reports, ““Unless Republicans can keep the government open without Democratic votes, this is not their decision to make. I have yet to see any evidence that they will be able to do that,’ said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

“Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, added that ‘Republicans can talk to themselves in the mirror all they want, but the fact is the vote is the currency of the realm and Republicans frequently find themselves holding an empty wallet.’”

Nobody is counting noses yet, but Republicans in the House are probably going to need close to a dozen Democratic votes to pass a budget, and almost as many in the Senate. But the Democratic advantage is that they know their allies in the media will make sure the public believes that it’s the GOP’s fault if the government shuts down.

The Democrats have their own problems: “But Democrats are under pressure from activists, outside groups and progressives to get legislation cleared this year. They view a government funding bill as their best, and potentially only, shot.

“‘This is how we are going to frame it: If you vote for the omnibus, you are voting for the deportation of Dreamers,’ said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a powerful pro-immigrant advocacy group.

“Murshed Zaheed, the political director of CREDO, is pushing Democrats to publicly pledge to oppose any spending bill that doesn’t include an immigration deal.

“’Democrats must hold a hard line and refuse to allow protections for Dreamers to come at the expense of their families and communities,’ Zaheed said.”

With that kind of pressure, Democrats appear to have little choice. Early in the new year, the political season begins as candidates position themselves for the 2018 midterms. Republicans especially don’t want to face voters after having legalized a couple of million DREAMers. In some cases, a vote for DACA could lead to a primary challenge. Republicans wish the issue would just go away, but it appears that Democrats won’t let that happen.

Trump has been back and forth on DACA, and his current position is that he believes at least some of the DREAMers should be allowed to stay. I don’t think Democrats will settle for anything less than legislation that mirrors the Obama executive order and allows hundreds of thousands of illegal children to stay.

That would  be too much for many Republicans to swallow, but there may be enough of them to get a budget passed.