As Senate lawmakers continue to deliberate on a budget deal and the government shutdown enters its third day, Democrats in pivotal swing states may have made re-election this year much more complicated.
Pressure by President Donald Trump and the GOP may prove fruitful against Democrat senators running for re-election this year in states the president won. Many of those lawmakers up for election in Trump country have chosen to stick with their party amid the standoff.
“Bob Casey had to choose between doing what’s best for Pennsylvania and playing partisan games, and he chose the latter,” Bob Salera, the National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson wrote in an email blast at the beginning of the shutdown, according to The Washington Post.
“By voting against extending CHIP, critical funding for our troops and programs families rely on, Casey is once again proving that his loyalty lies with his liberal colleagues in Washington, not with Pennsylvania,” the spokesperson continued.
Sen. Casey is up for re-election in Pennsylvania and is one of six Democratic senators who hail from Trump states but voted against the spending bill. He joined Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Debbi Stabenow of Michigan, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jon Tester of Montana and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
The federal government officially entered a shutdown of all non-essential services beginning this weekend as Republicans and Democrats are not yet able to reach a spending bill compromise. At the heart of the issue is the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era executive order that protects young illegal immigrants brought to the country at an early age from deportation.
Democrats are demanding that a legislative fix be added to the spending deal in order to win their approval. Republicans, on the other hand, argue that there is no immediate need to address DACA, as the program is not due to expire until later in the year, pointing the finger at the other party for putting military funding and other services in jeopardy in favor of illegal immigrants.
A spending bill was able to make it past the House of Representatives, where the GOP enjoys a strong majority. However, in the Senate, where Democrats are in near-parity with the GOP and a spending bill requires a 60-vote threshold, negotiations have stalled.
“It is clear that Congress has at least until March — at a minimum, and maybe even longer — to reach a compromise on the DACA question,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said regarding the debate, according to CNN.
“There is no reason my colleagues should hold government funding hostage over the issue of illegal immigration.”
“They ignored the needs of millions of Americans who rely on the federal government for important services,” McConnell said Friday, hammering Democrats for leading the shutdown. “They held all this hostage over the completely unrelated issue of illegal immigration.”
This sentiment has been expressed thoroughly by the GOP, with many members referring to the debacle as the “Schumer Shutdown” in honor of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In fact, Trump’s team has been running campaign-like ads during the shutdown debate, chiding Democrats standing in the way of his immigration agenda. One Trump ad in particular calls Democratic lawmakers “complicit” in any murder committed by illegal immigrants.
“President Trump is right: build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants,” the narrator said.
Conservative lawmakers and news outlets have tried to tie the shutdown to Democrats.
They ignored the needs of millions of Americans who rely on the federal government for important services,” McConnell said Friday, hammering Democrats for leading the shutdown. “They held all this hostage over the completely unrelated issue of illegal immigration.”
However, surveys of American voters have also indicated that such a connection is being made the general public.
A poll, conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group on behalf of a super PAC allied with Senate Democrats, commissioned a poll in 12 battleground states at the end of 2017. The survey discovered that voters in red states would blame a shutdown evenly between Democrats and the Republicans.
However, when asked about a shutdown that might be tied to DACA, respondents placed more blame on Democrats.
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