House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she won’t support the budget deal with spending caps being hammered out in Congress unless it includes protection for Dreamers.
“The budget caps agreement includes many Democratic priorities,” Pelosi said in a statement, including money to fight the opioid epidemic, disaster relief, and big increases for domestic as well as defense spending.
But the lack of a fix for immigrants brought here as kids who were protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is a stumbling block, she added, adding that she wants a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the issue would be included in any House bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is crafting a bill in the upper chamber with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to avoid a government shutdown Thursday night, has made such a commitment.
“This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House. Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support,” Pelosi said.
The development comes a day after the White House sent apparently contradictory signals on the possibility of a shutdown.
President Trump said he’d “love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” referring to his demands that any bill include up to $30 billion for a border wall and beefed up security as well as an end to the visa lottery program and chain migration.
“If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety, then shut it down,” he added.
A short time later, administration spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president did not want a shutdown — despite his statements suggesting otherwise.
“We are not advocating for the shutdown,” she said, adding that if there were a shutdown, it would be the Democrats’ fault even though the GOP controls all three branches of the federal government.
Meanwhile, a group of hard-right House conservatives opposes the big budget deal emerging in Congress, but the group’s leader said Wednesday he expects it to pass anyway because of increases in defense and other spending that will appeal to many lawmakers.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said his Freedom Caucus will fight it, but “I’m afraid the numbers will get so high and the debt ceiling will get added and it will be a Christmas tree of spending — that a lot of votes will be bought.”
With Post wires