Democrats are threatening to hold national security hostage, potentially costing the economy billions and forcing hundreds of thousands of federal government employees to go without pay in exchange for securing legal protections for 800,000 illegal immigrants.
Congress has several days to strike a deal to keep the government funded through October.
If members fail to come to an agreement by Jan. 19, all “non-essential” government employees and active U.S. military personnel will be working with out pay (including troops currently deployed).
Funding for agencies like federal museums or national parks will also be cut off.
Congressional Democrats are apparently content with allowing military and law enforcement personnel to go without pay to secure protections and benefits for illegal immigrants and members of their extended families.
As the clock ticks closer to the Friday deadline, Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi from California aren’t backing away from their demands to tie a legislative solution to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the must-pass spending bill.
“The fact remains the only way to guarantee the legal status for Dreamers is to pass DACA protections into law and do it now,” Schumer said last week, according to the Washington Examiner. “For that reason, a resolution to the DACA issue must be part of a global deal on the budget.”
Pelosi has been careful to show her cards publicly, tacitly throwing her support behind a bipartisan agreement struck last week in the House and Senate that shields Dreamers from deportation, maintains chain migration, provides under 6 percent of the funding Trump asked for construction of the border wall and continues the Obama-era visa lottery program.
The Trump administration, along with a number of conservative Republicans in Congress, are against the proposal, arguing that it does too little to stop chain migration and opens the nation up to a host of economic and national security threats.
Others within the Democratic caucus are more blunt as to what they are asking of Republican leadership, like Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
“If they need Democratic votes, the overall legislation needs to meet certain Democratic criteria and be reflective of the values of the Democratic caucus and what we believe are the values of the American people,” Crowley said Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said Tuesday that he will vote against any budget resolution that does not include protections for Dreamers.