By Louis Nelson
November 29, 2017Rubio on shutdown: 'It’s possible. But I hope not.'
Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that a Christmastime government shutdown next month is “possible,” but nonetheless suggested that a hard deadline for a funding bill might motivate the bipartisan deal needed to keep the government open.
Asked if he sees a shutdown coming, Rubio (R-Fla.) told POLITICO Playbook authors Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, “I hope not.”
“There’s a lot of posturing in this town. We’ve all — I mean, I haven’t been here that long, but I’ve been here long enough to see multiple times where it looks impossible until it has to happen and everybody realizes it’s the end of the year and they get it done,” he said. “That’s not a guarantee. We’re living in unusual times. But that’s my sense of it, is — I’m not sure anyone benefits from it, but it’s possible. But I hope not. No one wins in that, and it’s certainly disruptive with everything else that’s going on.”
Congress is fast approaching a December deadline to pass legislation to keep the government funded, a bill that will require Democratic support.
Some Democrats have indicated that they will not support a government-funding bill without legislation to address the legal status of “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The White House has, in turn, indicated that any bill that offers support to Dreamers must also include funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a red line for many Democrats.
Rubio, too, predicted that any long-term immigration deal would have to come with significant concessions from Democrats on border security, potentially including Trump’s wall. The Florida senator, who has played a key role in past immigration proposals, said he believes and hopes there is an immigration deal to be struck.
One option for an immigration deal, Rubio said, is a temporary continuation, “done in a constitutional way,” of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A more permanent solution that includes changes to the immigration status of Dreamers will have to be packaged with permanent border security measures, he said.
“I hope we will want to get something done because these are real people who are now working, some have started businesses, many are in school or about to enter school and this sort of uncertainty isn’t good for them, their families, their employer, or quite frankly, their country,” Rubio said. “A significant percentage of those young people that we would categorize as Dreamers actually fit the profile of the kind of person we want to attract under a merit-based immigration system: Highly educated, employable, ready to go to work.”
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