Democrats eye government shutdown if Republicans fail to protect Dreamers

Democrats are weighing an option of last resort if Republicans fail to protect some 700,000 Dreamers from deportation by year’s end—forcing a government shutdown. Politico writes:

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a prospective 2020 presidential hopeful, raised the specter of a year-end showdown last week when she declared she wouldn’t vote for a spending bill that doesn’t help children of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors. Republicans will need Democratic votes — definitely in the Senate and almost certainly in the House, too — to pass legislation to keep the government funded. […]

But a number of other Democratic senators said they aren’t willing to go there — at least not yet.

“It is a topic which we are not raising at this point, because we hope we don’t even need to think about it,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a party

on immigration. “But I tell you, everyone I’ve spoken to — starting with me — are very serious this has to be done this year.”

Some Democrats are already echoing Harris, a position that’s looking even more prescient after Republicans said Thursday that they wouldn’t attach a DACA fix to the year-end funding bill. But Sen. Durbin and others clearly hope to avoid escalating tensions as they try to push through a bipartisan DACA fix co-sponsored by Durbin and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“If we do nothing between now and the end of the year and try and jam it into the spending bill, it makes it less likely that it will be a bipartisan, lasting solution to the challenge of the Dreamers,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). “But you should hear clearly the determination of many of us to get this fixed.”

If that bipartisan fix doesn’t go through—which seems entirely possible given GOP incompetence—the government funding fight will be a total mess. It’s hard to see how Republicans keep the government funded without Democratic help and it’s equally hard to see Democrats helping Republicans do that without protecting Dreamers.

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