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Democrats seek to avoid DACA's isolation in budget negotiations

Democrats are facing a tightrope challenge to achieve their goal of protecting young undocumented immigrants this mon...

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 11:26 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 11:26 AM

Democrats are facing a tightrope challenge to achieve their goal of protecting young undocumented immigrants this month: Keep attention on the issue, but don't let it get singled out.

Already, both sides have begun messaging on the topic, with Republicans accusing Democrats of wanting to shut down the government over immigration and of being unreasonable, and Democrats maintaining they're fighting for a host of programs beneficial to Americans.

Lawmakers are racing toward a January 19 deadline for government funding

Democrats have been careful in their messaging, as have Republicans

Lawmakers are racing toward a January 19 deadline for government funding with no plan for a long-term budget and a host of issues tied to the negotiations, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation and which President Donald Trump has decided to end.

The logic is that any long-term funding deal - which Republicans urgently want to fund the military and avoid mandatory sequestration budget cuts - will require Democrats, both in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to advance legislation, and in the House, where fiscal hawks generally reject overall budget numbers on principle. That gives Democrats virtually their only leverage all year in a Washington where Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House.

But while Democrats feel confident demanding that a suite of priorities be included in any budget deal and rejecting ones that fall short, the perception that a spending deal falls through - and thus the government shuts down - solely because of DACA could be too difficult for vulnerable red-state Democrats to swallow.

That was the case in December, advocates say, when Democrats helped Republicans pass a short-term extension of government funding despite repeated promises to not go home for the holidays without a DACA deal. Advocates warn that if Democrats are going to be successful in getting a compromise on DACA this time around, that can't happen again.

"If Democrats stay united on all issues, and (DACA) doesn't get isolated the way it was in December, then there's a better chance that Democrats have leverage to compel the kind of negotiations that might produce a deal in time," Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice Education Fund, a pro-immigration reform group, told reporters.

Democratic lawmakers who have long pushed for immigration reform have been concerned for months that leadership could abandon their issue at the last minute.

But thus far, they remain confident in their negotiating position and their negotiators.

"No, I think we have two stalwarts in Dick Durbin and Steny Hoyer and I'm very, very happy they're there," said Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez on Tuesday. Rep. Hoyer, of Maryland, and Sen. Durbin, of Illinois, are the Democratic whips of their respective chambers.

Democrats have been careful in their messaging, as have Republicans, as the deadline nears.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has been disciplined in including DACA when talking about a laundry list of essential items, as he did on the Senate floor on Tuesday. Likewise, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, has responded to questions about DACA timing with questions about whether Democrats would shut down the government over that issue specifically, saying Monday that "Democrats are holding (a budget) deal hostage for a DACA negotiation."

"When you hear Schumer saying 'no piecemeal' and 'global deal,' that's to maximize the unity in his caucus and to maximize their leverage," Sharry said. "I think it's quite an intelligent strategy. ... As long as Democrats have a united front with a number of issues that they're holding together, we think that puts us in the best chance to get to the serious negotiations."

Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia said he would "reject" any characterization of Democrats shutting down the government over DACA or anything else, saying it was essential for Democrats to stay united and keep all their issues together.

"Right now, there's a lot of linkage with a lot of issues, and Deocrats are doing, I think, the right thing in highlighting the unfinished business and the linkages, right?" Connolly said, citing children's health insurance, veterans' benefits, surveillance reform and DACA. "And you've got to use all the leverage you've got while you've got it."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 468498

Reported Deaths: 9100
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison31907468
Hinds30552569
DeSoto29532342
Jackson22868335
Rankin21016355
Lee14393214
Madison13961263
Jones13053215
Forrest12879231
Lauderdale11244292
Lowndes10148171
Lamar9972122
Pearl River8569208
Lafayette8008136
Hancock7110107
Oktibbeha6764117
Washington6756146
Neshoba6350200
Monroe6304156
Warren6267159
Panola6036122
Pontotoc599292
Bolivar5960143
Marshall5917115
Union558885
Pike5424133
Lincoln5192127
Alcorn509388
George454766
Scott447392
Leflore4377138
Tippah431780
Itawamba429192
Prentiss429074
Copiah423883
Simpson4238108
Wayne419663
Tate418999
Adams4174109
Yazoo411486
Sunflower4057104
Covington404891
Marion399699
Leake389784
Coahoma385996
Newton360273
Grenada3489100
Stone342657
Tishomingo320987
Attala318285
Jasper308261
Winston298191
Clay282672
Chickasaw277464
Clarke271784
Holmes257685
Calhoun256939
Smith241546
Yalobusha215447
Tallahatchie213849
Walthall203457
Lawrence202431
Greene202045
Perry195053
Amite191251
Webster191141
Noxubee173437
Montgomery168652
Jefferson Davis164041
Carroll158936
Tunica146533
Benton137531
Kemper136538
Claiborne124134
Choctaw123824
Humphreys122036
Franklin114127
Quitman100925
Wilkinson98335
Jefferson85832
Sharkey61620
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 757893

Reported Deaths: 12784
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1082301712
Mobile694251158
Madison47738562
Baldwin35347420
Shelby34758281
Tuscaloosa32576495
Montgomery32249645
Lee21576200
Calhoun19621363
Morgan19061307
Etowah18363413
Marshall17028252
Houston15881337
St. Clair14724270
Limestone13908178
Elmore13812239
Cullman13756228
Lauderdale12909263
Talladega12124200
DeKalb11705220
Walker10047303
Autauga9371119
Blount9272146
Jackson8970132
Coffee8550150
Colbert8229160
Dale8162142
Escambia632298
Tallapoosa6255165
Covington6214153
Chilton6152128
Russell586753
Franklin558292
Chambers5155127
Dallas4569173
Marion4490114
Clarke447070
Pike439188
Geneva415999
Lawrence4002101
Winston399982
Bibb388975
Barbour334667
Marengo317778
Monroe306844
Butler305878
Pickens296166
Henry288550
Randolph288255
Hale282981
Cherokee275649
Fayette268569
Washington241844
Crenshaw226962
Clay219260
Macon211154
Cleburne205746
Lamar184638
Conecuh173337
Lowndes167856
Coosa160031
Wilcox153033
Bullock145642
Perry132430
Sumter122635
Greene117941
Choctaw71925
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