By Ted Hesson
December 14, 2017
DEMS BACK OFF DACA SHUTDOWN THREAT: “Democratic leaders aren’t going to shut down the government to save DREAMers in December,” POLITICO’s Heather Caygle and Elana Schor report. “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi haven’t stopped fighting to deliver something on immigration by the end of the month. But they’ve subtly shifted their rhetoric in recent days and aren’t insisting that deportation relief be paired with a government funding bill this year.”
“Top Democrats’ retreat from demands on a deal before 2018 ensures they won’t get blamed for a possible shutdown and won’t upend Senate talks on a bipartisan deal combining relief for DREAMers with border security,” the pair report. “Those negotiations appear to be gaining momentum and may well bear fruit this month, particularly once Republicans reach a final agreement on their long-sought package of tax cuts. But edging away from a hard-line stance also courts a potential uprising from the left, as frustrated activists have long set their sights on a DREAMer solution this year.”
“The Democratic leaders did not make the issue a central focus during a meeting with President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss the year-end agenda last week, according to multiple sources,” POLITICO reports. “Multiple Senate liberals emphasized the importance of bipartisan Dreamer talks led by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Issuing ultimatums, they suggested, risks reducing GOP support for helping young undocumented immigrants at risk for deportation in March.”
The shift in strategy relieves both parties of the pressure to reach a solution before a Dec. 22 deadline to pass a bill to fund the federal government. But this may not be the end of shutdown talk. Forty-four of the Senate’s 48 Democrats sent a letter to Ryan Tuesday that warned the speaker not to pass a bill that increases defense spending for the current fiscal year but leaves non-defense spending at current levels, POLITICO’s Schor reports. “If presented with partisan legislation that leaves these key priorities behind, we will oppose it,” the senators wrote. More on the DREAMer standoff here and the Democrats’ letter here.
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