As you know, the partial federal government shutdown began in the beginning minutes of January 20. Negotiations to resolve the impasse over the Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend government funding continue; a vote on whether to cut off debate will occur at noon today (Monday).
Please continue to contact your Senators, by email or phone (202) 224-3121.
As reported in the press, Majority Leader McConnell has offered to hold a separate vote on legal status for the Dreamers after a further CR expires (the new proposal would make that date February 8), if their status has not been resolved before then. If this is agreed to, there would be no assurances that Dreamers’ legislation will be enacted. In the Senate, there are many ways for Senators to hold up proceedings. And there is no agreement in the House to vote for whatever the Senate may be able to agree to, much less any confidence that the President can be counted on to sign legislation if it ever does reach him.
A majority of both House and Senate would probably vote for the Dream Act if it were placed before them. But there are so many ways for opponents to ensnarl this legislation. That is why advocates have felt that there was no alternative but to include Dreamers’ legislation in a must-pass bill. When advocates see Trumptweets with language like this “…The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!” they can be forgiven for distrusting any deal that involves a stand-alone vote.
Also important to note: the House-passed stopgap bill that was rejected in the Senate had more problems than the lack of a solution for the Dreamers. While in the past the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been accompanied by renewals for community health centers and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, the latter were left out of the House bill. All three are essential. Also urgent is disaster relief for Puerto Rico. All of the recent disaster sites need more assistance. But we single out Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because they have gotten very little so far, while their needs are massive. These needs should not be left out of the funding bill.
We do not want a shutdown. It had appeared that Senate Minority Leader Schumer was close to an agreement with the President over the weekend, only to see it rejected. We hope that a short-term spending bill can be agreed to that addresses all these urgent needs, and that sets Congress on a path to agreement on lifting appropriations caps in a long-overdue full-year spending bill.