Her warning came on Wednesday: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she and other Democrats won’t back any budget deal ahead of an approaching deadline — unless Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) allows a vote on amnesty for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached an agreement Wednesday on a budget deal to keep the government running through March 23. It would also boost longer-term defense and domestic spending.
But Pelosi said she wanted no part of it unless Ryan followed McConnell’s lead and pledged to hold a vote dealing with the fate of illegal immigrants who qualified under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“This morning, we took a measure of our caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect dreamers in the House,” Pelosi said Wednesday, a reference to potential beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. “Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support.”
During a lengthy filibuster speech on the House floor, Pelosi accused Ryan of treating House Democrats “in such a humiliating way” by failing to schedule a DACA vote while McConnell has pledged to do so next week in the Senate.
“Without that commitment from Speaker Ryan … this package does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus,” Pelosi said. She also asked Ryan, “What are you afraid of?”
“Give us a vote. Let the House work its will,” Pelosi added.
For his part, Schumer said Wednesday on the Senate floor, “The budget deal doesn’t have everything Democrats want. It doesn’t have everything the Republicans want. But it has a great deal of what the American people want. After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough.”
McConnell said, “No one would suggest it is perfect, but we worked hard to find common ground.”
The government shut down for three days in January after Democrats initially refused to support a continuing resolution that didn’t include DACA amnesty. Republicans refused to grant such amnesty without achieving President Donald Trump’s core immigration enforcement priorities.
Ryan told reporters Tuesday that the House would not “bring immigration legislation through that the president doesn’t support.” Trump has said that he would like to see a DACA fix, although such amnesty cannot occur without border wall funding and other immigration reform priorities.
Ryan’s spokewoman, AshLee Strong, reiterated that stance Wednesday in a statement, saying, “Speaker Ryan has already repeatedly stated we intend to do a DACA and immigration reform bill — one that the president supports.”
Although House Democrats alone cannot block this budget’s passage, some hard-line conservative Republicans could complicate its passage by withholding their support because of the marked increase in federal spending.
National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Director Matt Gorman reacted to Pelosi’s refusal to support the budget bill without DACA amnesty in a statement Wednesday. He said, “The fact that Nancy Pelosi is the face and leader of the Democratic Party is the gift that keeps on giving for the NRCC.”
“As her colleagues openly grumble that she’s a liability for 2018 and she continues to be the most unpopular politician in the country, I can only say one thing: Go, Nancy, go,” Gorman continued.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned Wednesday at the White House press briefing that another government shutdown “would be very damaging to the military” and “just paralyzes everything that we do.” He insisted that “America can afford survival.”