These Factions in Congress, Split Over ‘Dreamers,’ Could Lead to Government Shutdown

Lawmakers have until Friday at midnight to pass a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. The House passed the bill Thursday night, but it appears less likely to pass in the Senate, where Democrats are demanding that the legislation include protections for young undocumented immigrants.

Here are the primary factions in the debate:

Democrats who will risk a government shutdown to secure protections for Dreamers.

“Congress should remain in session with no recess until we work out a long-term bipartisan budget deal.”

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Va.

“We are not going to desert these young people,” he said, referring to DACA beneficiaries.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vt.(Independent who caucuses with Democrats)

What do they want?

Those expected to vote against the current version of the bill include a majority of Democrats in the Senate, including several presidential hopefuls and a handful of senators who voted in favor of the last stopgap bill.

These Democrats are insisting that any spending measure must include immigrant protections for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as “Dreamers,” who could face deportation when the program ends on March 5.

They also want a permanent extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which was allowed to lapse last fall. Republicans included a six-year extension of the funding in the spending bill, effectively daring Democrats to vote against it.

Are they needed to pass a bill?

Not necessarily. Republicans have a wide majority in the House, and as long as some Democrats support the bill, it could pass in the Senate.

Senate Democrats who are facing tough re-elections.

“I want to keep the government open.”

Senator Joe Manchin III of W.V.

“I think it’s a bad proposal, I’ll just tell you that, and it has nothing to do with DACA.”

Senator Jon Tester of Mont.

What do they want?

Ten Democratic senators representing states won by Donald J. Trump are up for re-election this year. While these senators support DACA protections, they are the Democrats most likely to vote for the bill because they do not want to be blamed for a shutdown, or the failure to extend CHIP funding, come November. Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has said he would vote yes.

But at least one red-state Democrat, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, has hinted that he would vote against the bill.

Are they needed to pass a bill?

Yes. Even if all Senate Republicans vote for the bill (and some have said they will not), it would still take at least 10 Democrats to avoid a filibuster and pass with 60 “yes” votes.

Republican leaders in Congress.

“There is nothing – nothing – in such a continuing resolution that my Democratic friends actually oppose.”

Senator Mitch McConnell of Ky., the majority leader

“I think members understand: Why on earth would we want to have a government shutdown, hurt the military?”

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wis., the House speaker

What do they want?

Republican leaders want to pass their spending bill, ensuring that the government remains open on their watch. After a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office found that the extending funding for CHIP would actually save the government money, they enthusiastically included it in their bill, making it more difficult for Democrats to vote against it.

Republican leaders are also open to putting protections for DACA recipients into law, but only if they are included alongside increased border security and other immigration measures.

Are they needed to pass a bill?

Yes. Most of their caucuses will vote along with them.

Republicans who have said they will vote ‘no.’

“Above all else I want to rebuild the military that’s in a great decline.”

Senator Lindsey Graham of S.C.

“I’m not going to vote to continue to put the country further into debt.”

Senator Rand Paul of Ky.

What do they want?

Three Republican senators have said they would vote against the bill. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that he would not vote for the measure because he wanted to use the opportunity to pass a bipartisan immigration plan and an increase in military spending. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has voted against past continuing resolutions, cited concerns about the federal debt.

Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota said that he would not support a short-term funding approach, particularly because of its effect on the defense budget. Republicans in the conservative House Freedom Caucus had previously cited similar concerns, but the group said Thursday evening that it would support the bill after being promised later votes on military issues.

Are they needed to pass a bill?

Yes. In the Senate, more Democrats will have to vote yes in their stead for it to pass. The Freedom Caucus could have potentially killed the bill if it had withheld its support.

The White House

President Trump told reporters on Thursday that he believed “the Democrats would like to see a shutdown” in order to drown out discussion of his successful economic policies.

What does the White House want?

The administration on Wednesday released a statement endorsing the spending bill, including the CHIP funding extension. But on a Thursday morning, a tweet by the president, in which he said that a long-term extension of CHIP should not be a part of a stopgap spending bill, added confusion to the debate. Hours later, a White House spokesman said Mr. Trump supports the bill.

Is the administration needed to pass a bill?

The process is harder without clear White House support, but ultimately the president is expected to sign the bill.

Source link