President Trump once again called for a government shutdown if his demands on immigration are not met. Following a meeting at the white house, the President said, “I’d love to see a shutdown.” His message ended up sending shockwaves across his communications office and D.C.
The President’s comments reignited the spending debate currently underway on Capitol Hill. While Senate Democrats had already backed off their demand for the spending bill to include protections for the status of nearly 2 million Dreamers, the questions has once again been posed: Should Democrats supply the necessary votes for a budget deal without a path forward for Dreamers?
After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with Chuck Schumer, both men said a budget agreement was in sight and that they wished to wrap up negotiations promptly. After the meeting, everyone on Capitol Hill was treating the budget deal as a sure thing.
The proposed the two-year budget deal is expected to up government spending by about $300 billion. This is more than the previous budget spending deals that were reached in 2013 and 2015. The new bill will significantly increase the budget for military defense and will increase domestic spending to a level of parity that has been demanded by Democrats.
However, House Republicans expect to pass their own funding bill. The expectation is that the House bill will be stripped and tacked onto the Senate budget deal if a deal can be reached between Republicans and Democrats before the shutdown deadline. This process would give appropriators until the end of March to write a final package that will fund the government until September.
However a caps deal that will vastly expand domestic spending might cost conservative votes in both chambers. According to Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, “The thinking seems to be that in order to get much-needed military spending, we’re gonna have to waste more taxpayer dollars on domestic spending.”
In the Senate, a dozen or so Democratic senators who plan to run for president in 2020 refuse to vote for spending bills that don’t offer a resolution for Dreamers. In fact, House Democrats are upset that their colleagues in the Senate sold them out on protections for Dreamers back in December.
Although the Senate will soon hold an open debate on the immigration bill, House Democrats have not been promised a path forward for Dreamers, which is why they have wanted to tack it onto a piece of must-pass legislation. Paul Ryan only raised these stakes when he made it known that he would not bring immigration legislation to the floor without Trump’s support.
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