Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Tuesday there will be a vote this week on a bill to reopen the government — and that the bill will have border wall funding included in it.
McConnell proposed the bill to fund the remaining federal agencies and break a spending stalemate that led to a government shutdown on December 22.
The bill provides funding for a security wall along the southern border in exchange for protecting the immigrant group known as dreamers. Brought to this country illegally as children, these immigrants were recipients of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act initiated during the Obama years.
“We’ve heard members of Congress on all sides demanding a resolution to the impasse and a plan to provide full funding for the federal government,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on Tuesday. “We now have a plan by the president that would do exactly that and quickly.”
President Donald Trump has refused to sign any spending bills that don’t include $5.7 billion for the border security wall.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have said they are unwilling to negotiate the border wall until the partial government shutdown is over. The two sides thus far have made little progress in overcoming the impasse.
Trump gave a speech over the weekend in which he offered protections for the 700,000 immigrants known as dreamers in exchange for border wall funding. Democrats were quick to reject that offer.
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McConnell, in response, indicated he would bring up a bill that followed that offer.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) released a draft of the proposal a few days later. The bill was also paired with disaster aid and an extension of the Violence Against Women Act.
“I intend to move to this legislation this week,” McConnell said in a statement on Saturday. “With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well. The situation for furloughed employees isn’t getting any brighter and the crisis at the border isn’t improved by show votes. But the president’s plan is a path toward addressing both issues quickly.”
Trump and congressional leaders from both parties have continued discussions to overcome the stalemate. As of this writing, the two sides have been unable to overcome their differences despite the regular meetings.
Trump has repeatedly argued the border wall is needed, with security concerns at the forefront.
The proposal outlined by @POTUS would reopen the government fully. It is the only proposal currently before us that can be signed by the President and immediately reopen the government.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 22, 2019
Former President Barack Obama provided protections for the dreamers through an executive action on his part that established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump previously called that program unconstitutional — while also expressing sympathy for the immigrants it was meant to protect.
He has argued lawmakers should instead approve a permanent fix for the issue in a bill.
He later said the bill should include border wall funding, along with the end of chain migration and the draft lottery program.
House Democrats have made a few attempts of their own to end the shutdown. They passed two bills intended to fund most of the government while leaving room to debate border security. They later passed four separate appropriations bills; they are now working on another bill to fully fund the government without border wall funding.
The House Democratic bills are unlikely to get far without border wall funding, as the president threatened to use his veto powers. McConnell has also said he wouldn’t bring up any bills the president wasn’t willing to sign. He had made an earlier attempt to avert the government shutdown.
The bill McConnell brought up, though, isn’t likely to get far, either. House Dems are likely to reject the proposal if it makes it over to them.
But the bill will also need to get 60 votes in the Senate for it to even advance, reported The Daily Wire.
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