Pelosi: Gun control, DACA should be considered separately from spending package

Pelosi: Gun control, DACA should be considered separately from spending package
© Greg Nash
 
“None of these bills has to be part of the omnibus,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. She’s urging the Republicans to bring those issues to the floor as separate, stand-alone bills — a strategy GOP leaders have repeatedly refused.
 
Pelosi last month had led the opposition to a similar budget deal, not because of what it contained, but to protest the refusal of GOP leaders to commit to a separate vote shoring up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE is attempting to terminate. 
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Immigration rights activists are pressing the Democrats to use their leverage on the omnibus vote — which is among the last must-pass bills of the year — to insist on provisions protecting the so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Some gun reformers are urging a similar tactic to force action on new firearm controls as a response to the recent shooting at a Florida high school.
 
But Democratic leaders, eyeing big gains in November’s midterm elections, have been cold to that strategy. Senate Democrats had been blamed for a government shutdown over DACA earlier in the year, and there seems to be little appetite among the party’s brass to risk another round of political blowback over issues as contentious as immigration and guns. 
 
Pelosi has given no indication she’s planning another protest surrounding the omnibus vote. And on Thursday, she suggested there won’t be one. The sticking points in the omnibus are not related to immigration or guns, she said, but to conservative provisions restricting abortion rights. 
 
“The omnibus bill has other problems in it,” she said. 
 
“There’s suggested language that we could never live with — could never live with — even if Dreamers never existed. So the bill may have problems in other respects, whether it’s women’s right to choose [or] defunding Planned Parenthood,” Pelosi added. “Maybe we’ll meet next week [and] some of these will have gone away. Let’s hope. But for the moment, we have a lot of work to do to iron these [issues] out.”
 
The future of DACA has been uncertain since September, when Trump rescinded the Obama-era program and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix. That deadline passed on Monday, but GOP leaders — struggling to get 218 Republicans behind a DACA package favored by conservatives — have yet to bring anything to the floor.
 
 
“We clearly need to address this issue in March; I’ll just leave it at that,” Ryan said last month. 
 
Yet Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDem introduces bill to create federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race Gingrich: Bushes view themselves as closer to Obamas, Clintons than to Trump MORE, a Texas Republican who’s the lead sponsor of a bipartisan DACA bill being promoted by Democratic leaders, said Thursday that he has “no updates” on the immigration debate and that he’s unfamiliar with Ryan’s plans.
 
“I don’t know if that’s my understanding [of what Ryan said],” Hurd said, referring to the end-of-March timeline. “I don’t know what you’re referring to.”
 
The gun reform debate hasn’t gone even that far. While House Republicans are planning to vote next week on legislation to safeguard schools — a direct response to the Parkland, Fla., shooting — the package puts no new limits on the sale or ownership of firearms — limits that are fervently opposed by the powerful gun lobby. 
 
Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash MORE (Md.), the Democratic whip, said he’s aware of no opposition to the bipartisan school safety bill. But he also hammered GOP leaders for their refusal to consider popular gun reforms such as universal background checks, which enjoys overwhelming support from voters of all stripes.
 
“The fact that we can't get a bill supported by 97 percent of the American people on the floor is absurd,” Hoyer said Tuesday, referring to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
 
Still, Hoyer seems to be on the same page as Pelosi when it comes to the question of whether Democrats should use their rare leverage to force consideration of contentious issues like guns and DACA.
 
“I think the omnibus needs to be considered on its own merits,” Hoyer said.