Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, Pelosi said Democrats will insist on safeguards for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before the holiday recess, suggesting Republicans will be on their own to prevent a government shutdown if that language is excluded.
The comments came just hours before the House is expected to vote on legislation extending government spending for two weeks to prevent a shutdown on Saturday, when funding expires.
In what may be a preview of the next round of budget votes, Pelosi said Democrats won’t provide votes to help the Republicans pass Thursday’s continuing resolution (CR), citing the exclusion of not only the DACA fix, but a host of other provisions Democrats deem must-pass this year.
That list includes the reauthorization of a popular children’s healthcare program and funding to combat the opioid crisis and provide emergency relief to victims of hurricanes and wildfires, among other things.
“The reason why: Because it does nothing about the opioid epidemic; it has nothing about veterans funding; nothing about CHIP; … nothing about the Dream Act; … emergency disaster funding; saving some of the pensions,” she said.
“This is a waste of time. There could be some good things that could be advanced.”
Pelosi amplified that message on Thursday, saying Democrats will accept tougher border security, but not border wall funding or provisions to bolster interior enforcement. The Democrats contend that trading a DACA fix for tougher deportation measures would essentially protect Dreamers at the expense of their parents.
“We said to the president the night he agreed to the DACA legislation that we have a responsibility to protect our border, and we think there are many things we can do working together to do that,” Pelosi said.
“[But] we’re not going to turn this country into a reign of terror of domestic enforcement and have the Dreamers pay that price.”
Complicating the debate, the administration — following the Pelosi-Schemer meeting — issued a list of immigration demands that includes a host of enforcement provisions that are non-starters with the Democrats.
Even more recently, Trump said he opposes the notion of attaching immigration provisions to December’s government spending bills — a message echoed by GOP leaders in both the House and Senate, who are quick to note that in rescinding DACA, Trump gave Congress until March 5 to provide a fix.
Pelosi’s demands, however, put the pressure on the Republicans to find the votes to fund the government on their own, or risk a shutdown.
“I’m optimistic, I’ve always been,” Pelosi said. “God is with us on this. … We can find our common ground.”