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February 7, 2018

CNN:House Democrats face tough choice over budget deal and immigration

Tal Kopan, CNN | Wed February 7, 2018 | 7:57 PM ET


As lawmakers announced a budget deal that would address many of the issues stymieing Washington — with the key exception of immigration — House Democrats on Wednesday were feeling the heat.


Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor Wednesday — and held it for a record-breaking length of time of over eight hours — to warn she would not support the burgeoning deal without a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Republican-controlled House would hold a debate and vote on immigration legislation as his Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell has pledged, setting up a potential standoff.

The two-year deal that leadership announced on the Senate floor would set domestic and defense spending levels, push back the debt limit and resolve some outstanding issues Democrats have pushed for like support for community health centers and disaster relief money.


But left out of the deal would be a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which Trump is ending — and House Democrats have long been steadfast that they would not support government funding without it.


The Senate is close, nevertheless, to sending the deal to the House with a continuing resolution that would fund the government into March, squeezing Democrats to risk rejecting a budget compromise over DACA alone, a position they have sought to avoid. Democratic votes in the House haven’t been necessary to pass continuing resolutions this year, but a number of House conservatives are expected to oppose the budget deal because of the domestic spending levels. That will force Democrats’ hand.


“The budget caps agreement includes many Democratic priorities,” Pelosi said in a statement. “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.”


Some Democrats were already backing up Pelosi as the deal was announced Wednesday afternoon.


Rep. Eric Swalwell of California said that while he supports a DACA fix, his concern was more about the size of the deal.


“I still have a real problem dramatically increasing the caps, adding to the deficit, when we just added $2 trillion for the tax plan. So if (Republicans) want to roll back their tax cuts so that we don’t have such a deep, deep deficit, I would be more receptive to that,” Swalwell said.


Congressional Hispanic Caucus member and Democratic Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán of California said Democrats should not accept a funding deal without what they’ve asked for.

“No, I think that we aren’t using all the leverage we have and that’s a disappointment and I won’t support it,” she said. “We as a caucus have talked about making this one of our leverage points and using this as a leverage point. I hope that we continue to do that.” READ MORE