With Democrats insisting that the House government-funding bill protect the 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” brought to the U.S. by illegal-alien parents, the federal government could shut down Saturday, President Trump warned Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting, Trump said Democrats “are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country.”
“They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime. We want [immigrants] to come on our basis,” the president said.
Congress has until midnight Friday to approve a short-term spending bill that would avoid a partial shutdown. Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass the bill, because a supermajority of 60 votes is needed to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. A vote is expected Thursday on a two-week spending bill that would allow more time for more substantive discussions.
However, the conservative Freedom Caucus wants a separate defense spending bill alongside a second continuing resolution to fund the rest of the government, arguing short-term spending bills harm the military, the Hill reported.
Regarding immigration, Republicans insist that legislation accommodating Dreamers must include strong border-security measures.
In September, Trump canceled President Obama’s executive order delaying deportation for the Dreamers, giving Congress until March 2018 to pass a bill that addresses the issue.
Trump and Republican leaders have scheduled a meeting at the White House for Thursday with Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to discuss the spending bill.
Pelosi responded in a tweet to Trump’s comments blaming Democrats for the threat of a shutdown.
“President Trump is the only person talking about a government shutdown. Democrats are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open,” she wrote.
The Freedom Caucus is countering Democrats’ usual demand that any increase in military spending be accompanied by increases in funding domestic initiatives.
“Republicans want to fund the military. Democrats know that, and so what they do is they hold that hostage in trying to get things that are not in the best interest of the American taxpayer,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the Freedom Caucus chairman.
Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, former Freedom Caucus chairman, said after a meeting Wednesday morning with House Speaker Paul Ryan that they made progress on an agreement, the Hill reported.
The Freedom Caucus wants a continuing resolution that funds the government past Christmas, but caucus members appear to be open to a spending bill through Dec. 22.
Meadows noted House Republicans are trying to pass a continuing resolution it can send to the Senate without the help of Democrat votes, which is why deliberations are taking so much time.
However, in the Senate, at least eight Democratic votes would be needed to overcome a filibuster, and Democrats already have criticized the idea of passing a separate bill to increase defense spending without addressing their domestic priorities.
In his remarks this morning at the Cabinet meeting, Trump mentioned the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this week upholding his travel ban for immigrants from countries that foster Islamic terrorism.
“That was a tremendous victory for our country – not a victory for me, it was a victory for our country,” the president said.
“So the Democrats maybe will want to shutdown the country because they want people flowing into our country. I want people coming into our country, but I want to vet those people. We don’t want to have radical Islamic terrorism in this country, and we don’t want to have crime in this country.”