Senate Democrats are so far refusing to get behind a federal spending bill that would temporarily keep the federal government running, thus risking a shutdown. Liberal lawmakers in Congress are demanding the GOP add provisions to protect illegal immigrants in order to win their approval.
Ironically, many of those same Democrats had put Republican lawmakers on blast for making such stringent demands that led to the 2013 government shutdown.
The House of Representatives, where Republicans control a stronger majority, was able to pass a spending bill Thursday evening by a vote of 230-197. However, in the Senate — where such a measure requires 60 votes and the GOP holds a razor thin 51-49 majority — the chances of passage appear slim.
In a goodwill gesture to Democrats, Republicans included in their House bill a six-year re-authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation. The program was something Democrats had heavily lobbied for in previous negotiations.
CHIP renewal, however, was not good enough for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats.
At the heart of the funding debate is protection for Dreamers, young illegal immigrants who came to the country as children and have lived in the U.S. for years.
President Donald Trump discontinued the executive order that protects these immigrants, but he and congressional Republicans have expressed interest in passing a legislative fix for the program.
The current spending bill does not address DACA, and Democrats are demanding that it does.
Trump has lambasted Democrats, tweeting out that protection for illegal aliens and weak borders are a higher priority to Democrats than funding for America’s military.
In an interview with Fox News, Sen. James Lankford discussed the oddity of demanding that a complicated and massive program such as DACA be included in a short-term funding bill.
“What they’re tying to do right now is to say, ‘Let’s take the DACA issue, let’s poke it into a funding bill,’ and … their request is, ‘Let’s legalize three million people in a short-term funding bill and just call this done,” the Oklahoma Republican said.
“It’s just very odd. … Why would you ever do that in that setting? An immigration bill needs to be a stand-alone bill, debated, walked through the process of it.”
Democrats, however, are standing firm with their demands, risking a shutdown. Their actions appear very similar to what occurred the last time Congress could not agree on a budget and the federal government was forced to put a halt to all non-essential services — the debate regarded funding for Obamacare during a 2013 budget negotiation.
At the time, Republicans had their own demands and the Democrats were singing a very different tune than they are now.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand even compared Republicans to her young son, calling their behavior childish.
“This is much more like what I deal with Henry in the morning when he says he wants to say, ‘I want candy for breakfast.’ It’s really a tantrum; it’s a tea party tantrum. ‘You either give me my way, or we’re going to shut down government,’” she said in 2013.
Fast forward to the present day, and the rising Democrat star is now the one making a non-negotiable wish list.
Sen. Cory Booker, who is also considered a top 2020 presidential contender, promised to vote against the spending bill if it doesn’t address DACA.
However, in 2013, the New Jersey Democrat called his election opponent a “tea-party extremist” when it came to government shutdowns, and stated that the Senate needs lawmakers who will “not play this shutdown politics that plays with the full faith and credit of the United States of America.”
Also in 2013, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Republicans “legislative arsonists.” Meanwhile, Schumer said he had “never seen such an extreme group of people adopt such an insane policy.”
But when it came time to support a funding bill or risk shutting the government down, Pelosi chose not to vote for the measure, and Schumer has vowed to do the same.
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