President Trump Says He’d “Love To See A Shutdown” Over Immigration
As lawmakers are making headway on a budget pact, Donald Trump is prepared to shutdown the government if he isn’t happy with the deal.
TRUMP SAYS HE’D “LOVE TO SEE A SHUTDOWN”
“I’d love to see a shutdown if we can’t get this stuff taken care of,” he said on Tuesday during a White House meeting, twice for emphasis. “If we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown. We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country.” He then added, “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety, and unrelated but still related, they don’t want to take care of our military, then shut it down. We’ll go with another shutdown.”
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Virginia) responded to the president’s words after the meeting: “We don’t need a government shutdown on this. I think both sides have learned that a government shutdown is bad.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) added, “We had one Trump shutdown, nobody wants another, maybe except him.”
Trump’s sentiments seem utterly disconnected from the progress being made in Congress. On Tuesday night, the House passed a short-term spending agreement as Senate leaders closed in on a longer-term pact ahead of the Thursday night deadline. If passed, the long-term agreement would provide spending increases to the Pentagon and to domestic federal programs, as well to disaster relief.
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The pact does not address immigration laws, and instead Democratic leaders have opted to cut a deal that would send tens of billions of dollars to other priorities. Immigration policy debates will come later.
The vote on Tuesday for the six-week short-term plan garnered a 245-182 House vote mostly along party lines. It includes the increases in military spending that Trump and Republicans have been demanding since he took office. The measure, however, could be rewritten by the Senate ahead of the broader budget pact.
Negotiations between the Senate majority and minority leaders, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Schumer, have intensified given that the deadline before another shutdown of midnight Thursday night is fast approaching. “I think we’re on the way to getting an agreement and getting it very soon,” McConnell told the Chicago Tribune.
“Very pleased to announce alongside @SenateMajLdr that we have reached a two-year budget deal that will benefit our country in so many ways,” Schumer tweeted out on Feb. 7.
Very pleased to announce alongside @SenateMajLdr that we have reached a two-year budget deal that will benefit our country in so many ways.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 7, 2018
Despite Schumer’s excitement for the bill, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced her opposition to it. “This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House,” she said in a statement. “Without a commitment from Speaker [Paul] Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support.” While she didn’t encourage others to vote “no,” Pelosi’s statement raises questions as to if Democrats will provide enough support in the House to pass the bill.
If passed, the stopgap spending bill would keep the government open through March 23, giving Congress more time to write and pass a more detailed bill that would fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The result of the bill, however, could send the U.S. back to trillion-dollar deficits that haven’t been present since Barack Obama‘s first term.
Despite this progress, immigration is still a murky subject. The Senate is scheduled to address the dilemma put forth by the forthcoming expiration of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The two parties have been divided about how to extend protections for the Dreamers before the March 5 deadline.
White House chief of staff General John Kelly added fuel to the flames of the debate, when he noted that the proposal would expand protection to around 1.8 million immigrants. Among them are “the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up,” Kelly described.
The second Senate Democratic leader Dick Durban (D-Illinois) did not appreciate the comment. “I’m sorry for that characterization,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me from Gen. Kelly.”
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