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 12:26 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 12:26 PM

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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48201

Reported Deaths: 2693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11624683
Lake5146242
Elkhart328546
Allen2762129
St. Joseph194366
Cass16389
Hamilton1552101
Hendricks1403100
Johnson1278118
Porter72837
Tippecanoe7158
Madison65864
Clark65144
Bartholomew58544
Howard57557
LaPorte57326
Kosciusko5464
Vanderburgh5226
Marshall4924
Noble47828
Jackson4703
LaGrange4708
Hancock44835
Boone44243
Delaware44250
Shelby42525
Floyd37944
Morgan32931
Grant29426
Monroe29428
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Dubois2736
Henry26315
White26310
Decatur25032
Lawrence24425
Dearborn23623
Vigo2348
Warrick21429
Harrison21322
Unassigned193193
Greene18832
Miami1822
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1607
Daviess14317
Wayne1386
Orange13623
Steuben1292
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1167
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Huntington812
Gibson802
Randolph794
Jefferson722
Wells721
Fulton701
Jay680
Washington671
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown391
Posey390
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Tipton321
Fountain312
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57150

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10271422
Cuyahoga7724373
Hamilton5924197
Marion273238
Lucas2723302
Pickaway219141
Summit2131206
Montgomery198126
Mahoning1825232
Butler157644
Columbiana130360
Stark1107112
Lorain102167
Trumbull93965
Warren83921
Clark7659
Delaware56815
Fairfield55916
Tuscarawas55210
Belmont54622
Medina51632
Lake49718
Licking47712
Miami46331
Portage44058
Ashtabula43344
Wood42151
Geauga40542
Clermont4006
Wayne36251
Richland3375
Allen31540
Mercer2818
Greene2519
Darke24825
Erie24222
Holmes2313
Huron2152
Madison1958
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Sandusky13414
Washington13220
Putnam12815
Ross1243
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton972
Monroe8917
Jefferson872
Union851
Muskingum831
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Guernsey703
Lawrence700
Williams702
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Carroll593
Wyandot586
Athens561
Brown561
Knox511
Defiance503
Fayette460
Highland451
Champaign401
Scioto380
Perry341
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Henry290
Jackson230
Paulding230
Pike230
Adams221
Vinton222
Gallia171
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Van Wert
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Few Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events