Pelosi downplays DACA ahead of shutdown vote

Pelosi downplays DACA ahead of shutdown vote
© Greg Nash
 
“This isn't about Dreamers,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. 
 
“Even if not one Dreamer ever existed, we still have a problem on the budget side of this. This isn’t something that Dreamers are holding up. It’s about what isn’t in there to help meet the health needs of the American people.”
 
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The strategy seemed designed to deflect criticisms from GOP leaders that the Democrats are threatening a government shutdown — and risking the expiration of some military funds — for the sake of protecting the young undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
 
Some Republicans are framing Thursday’s vote on a continuing resolution (CR) as a binary choice between supporting U.S. troops in the field and protecting immigrants in the country illegally — protections many conservatives say amount to “amnesty.”
 
“What does this have to do with funding for our troops?” Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? The Pelosi administration It's not populism that's killing America's democracy MORE (R-Wis.) asked Thursday. “It has nothing to do with funding for our troops, and we should not use them as bargaining chips.”
 
Pelosi lashed back at the Republicans for citing DACA as the singular reason Democrats are opposing the CR. She characterized them as “fear mongers” seeking to energize their conservative base.
 
The back-and-forth finger-pointing arrives as Republican leaders in both chambers are scrambling to secure the votes to pass their spending patch before midnight on Friday, when government funding expires. 
 
House GOP leaders are confident they can rally enough Republican votes to move the package through the lower chamber Thursday night, but some conservatives and defense hawks are balking over the short-term nature of the proposal and deficit spending concerns.  
 
Complicating the equation for Ryan, President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE on Thursday morning suggested he’s opposed to including funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the 30-day CR. 
 
“CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” he tweeted.
 
The message ruffled Republicans, who are arguing the importance of including the CHIP extension in the package. Ryan was put in the uncomfortable position of having to defend the president’s comprehension of what CHIP is. 
 
“He does understand CHIP, yes,” Ryan said. 
 
“The president likes to do things in an unconventional way. He does it with his phone,” he added. “But it actually does help us with our members.”
 
It’s unclear how many Democrats will support the GOP bill. Pelosi is expected to withhold Democratic support in the early stages of the CR vote — a move forcing Ryan to win passage exclusively with Republican backing. But she ultimately has no power to block legislation if the Republicans can rally the votes on their own.
 
Pelosi insisted the sides could come together to reach a bipartisan deal on both spending and DACA. But she didn’t appear ready to hold her breath for a breakthrough.
 
“It’s really almost like an amateur hour,” she said. “Maybe they just don’t believe in governance.”