Hardliners in the House are teaming up with the White House to make sure any Senate immigration deal doesn't make it to Trump's desk.
While bipartisan optimism grows in the U.S. Senate that a deal can be reached in coming days to address the legal future of nearly one million undocumented immigrants in this country, anti-immigration zealots in the House are already working hard to make sure no bill makes it to Donald Trump’s desk.
And that could lead to another government shutdown.
During the weekend government shutdown, a group of bipartisan senators agreed to craft a bill to help those affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, implemented by President Barack Obama. A new Senate bill would ensure those undocumented immigrants are allowed to stay in the U.S., as a vast majority Americans think they should be.
Indeed, the only reason the shutdown ended was because of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to hold a vote on a bill for DREAMers before the next budget deadline of Feb. 8.
But as Republican House Whip Steve Scalise stressed to Politico, The House wasnt part of that deal. Instead, Scalise does not feel at all bound by any guidelines established by senators.
Additionally, more than 150 House Republicans are set to announce Tuesday that they’re supporting an anti-immigration bill from conservative hardliners, led by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
“The Goodlatte proposal contains a number of contentious provisions that would be difficult to pass with even just Republican votes, including mandatory worker verification, cracking down on sanctuary cities, changing asylum thresholds and cutting legal immigration to the US by 25%, according to bill authors,” CNN reports.
The demand that the House tack to the far right would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the House to reconcile with a possible Senate bill.
Meanwhile, Trumps budget director, Mick Mulvaney told CNN Tuesday that any DREAMer fix would have to be part of a “larger agreement.” Asked Trump’s position on DREAMers and who gets to say, Mulvaney said it “depends on what we get in exchange.”
He stressed the White House wants a “big deal” that covers a wide array of complicated immigration-related issues, including Trump’s border wall. But with an agreed-upon, early February deadline looming, the demand for a “big deal” makes the chances of legislation passing all the more remote.
Indeed, House Republicans anxious to scuttle any immigration deal are likely working alongside anti-immigrant advocates inside the White House who made sure Trump turned down two bipartisan deals earlier this month to protect the possible deportation of 800,000 DREAMers.
Trump’s move last September to cancel the DREAMers protection, and the subsequent four-month refusal by Republicans to address their future via any kind of legislation action, forced Democrats to take a stand last week. They refused to vote for yet another short-term spending bill if the DREAMeres weren’t protected.
Failure to pass a DREAMer bill next month will likely spark another confrontation and could lead to another shutdown if Republicans break their promise to address the issue before the next budget deadline.