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Will 2020 contenders put Democrats in a bind on DACA?

As battles over immigration and government spending advance with no solution in sight, Senate Democrats are being for...

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 9:18 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 9:18 AM

As battles over immigration and government spending advance with no solution in sight, Senate Democrats are being forced to decide whether they'd support a short-term measure to avert a government shutdown -- even if it doesn't include protections for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children.

A contingency of 2020 prospects -- including California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand -- want to play hardball, refusing to vote for anything that doesn't secure the fate of those who gained legal status under former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Their position matches a Democratic base that overwhelmingly supports protections for DACA participants and is eager to see lawmakers use every available tactic to pressure Trump.

"Why are we kicking the can down the road?" Booker said Tuesday.

But the 10 Democratic senators up for re-election this year in states Trump won in 2016 -- all of whom need to win over conservative voters -- may be less willing to force a government shutdown over immigration policy.

"I'll vote to keep the government open," West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said.

"We've got people running for president all trying to find their base, and then you've got people from Trump states that are trying to continue to legislate the way we always have -- by negotiation," Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, whose state Trump carried by 19 percentage points, told The New York Times. "And never the twain shall meet."

The clock is ticking, with government funding set to expire Friday.

Even Democrats who won't be in tough races in 2018 or 2020 are slowly feeling out the political dilemma they could face in the coming days -- with some refusing to take clear positions on whether they'd back a government funding bill that didn't include DACA.

Some said they are still holding out hope that a deal negotiated by a bipartisan group of senators, including Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, could move forward -- despite Trump's rejection of that deal at a heated meeting last week.

"I would hope we'd have all the things everybody agreed to," Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said Tuesday when he was asked that question.

Pressed to clarify, he repeated: "I would hope we'd have something everybody has agreed to."

"I would hope the President and Republican leaders wouldn't want to humiliate themselves by not going forward with what we agreed to," Leahy said, turning around and acknowledging how vague he'd been as he walked into an elevator. "How's that for a clear answer?"

Democratic strategists involved in 2018 races acknowledged the complicated politics of immigration but noted that protections for Dreamers are politically popular across the board and said Republicans -- who control all levers of government power -- would be blamed for a shutdown.

But the positions of Harris, Booker and Gillibrand, all seen as viable prospects for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, have reflected the passion of the broader Democratic base -- which is young, diverse and overwhelmingly supportive of hard-line tactics against Trump and congressional Republicans.

Those Democrats have dug in since Trump said at a private Oval Office meeting that he wants immigrants from places like overwhelmingly white Norway -- and not from Africa.

Booker on Tuesday ripped into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a heated committee hearing, after Nielsen denied hearing Trump say the words "shithole" or "shithouse" in a White House meeting last week.

Booker said Nielsen was "complicit" in the damage done by Trump's reported insult.

"When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it is a dangerous force in our country. Your silence and your amnesia is complicit in it," Booker said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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Columbus
Cloudy
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Oxford
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Starkville
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Occasional areas of rain and some scattered thunderstorms will be in store for most of the weekend. However, good news by later sections of next week, as cooler and drier air will work its way into our weather forecast.
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