Government Shutdown Looms As Sen. Chuck Schumer Heads To White House For Talks
The clock is ticking as Republicans and Democrats struggle to reach an agreement over this year’s budget or the government may face another shutdown this weekend. On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump summoned Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to the White House for last minute talks aimed at averting a shutdown.
The House on Thursday had planned to vote on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded until February 16, the fourth one in just four months for House Speaker Paul Ryan, as negotiations were expected to continue between both parties on how to properly protect the children who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA.
On Thursday, nearly every House Democrat lined up against the bill, signing a letter of opposition.
Democrats have made it clear that protection for immigrants under DACA was a top priority for them and their base – and that there would be no negotiation without the extension of the program.
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Republicans, in an effort to pin Democrats between a rock and a hard place, added a six-year extension to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to their budget bill. Funding for the program, which began under President Bill Clinton, lapsed last year. The DACA, which provides protection for 780,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children, is set to expire in March after President Trump axed the program last fall.
Far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus led by South Carolina Republican Mark Meadows are pressing for even more defense funding.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who was apart of the six senator bipartisan team that President Trump had originally tasked in negotiating a DACA deal, told reporters on Capital Hill that, “At the end of the day, I don’t see how we got defense spending increase without dealing with DACA,” he said. “[Republicans are] sitting around acting like there’s only one party. There’s two parties.”
Democrats are now forced to make the decision of allowing CHIP funding to run out in states that are dangerously low, such as Minnesota, Washington and Kentucky, or to allow a shutdown to try and force Republicans to come to the table to negotiate a DACA deal.
“I feel that it makes no sense for Democrats to try and bring us to a shutdown, to try and cut off CHIP funding for states that are running out of money,” said Ryan.
Senator Schumer explained the significance off the stopgap bill citing that if it passed, “there will be no incentive to negotiate [by Republicans] and we’ll be right back here in a month with the same problems at our feet.”
Trump yesterday muddied the waters further by tweeting out a contradictory stance from his own party making it unclear where the president stands on the issue.
CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
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