Dems fold on immigration, temporarily averting government shutdown
The House and Senate voted on Monday to temporarily resume normal government operation, effectively ending the shutdown that had been in effect since Saturday. Democrats and Republicans decided had been at a standstill over immigration policy.
The legislation being advanced by the Senate’s 81-18 vote allows government funding for at least the next three weeks, through February 8th. The House’s vote on the bill also passed by a similarly wide margin of 266-150, with a significant number of bi-partisan votes. The bill now awaits the signature of Marmalade in Chief and, in addition to funding the government, also averts the impending crisis of the Children’s Health and Insurance Program, or CHIP funding, which had already gone 114 days without being funded. CHIP will be fully funded for six more years, and the negotiation of the CHIP funding also delays a penalty that was assigned under the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Interestingly enough, the resolution that was presently passed is nearly the exact same as the bill the Democrats rejected on Friday which resulted in the government’s shutdown, causing some to wonder why they held out at all if they were going to so quickly fold.
Mitch McConnell was only able or willing to offer up that the Republican-controlled Senate would consider legislation that would clarify the legal status of young immigrants about to lose their legal protections under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) by February 8th.
Before the vote went forth, it was clear that there was not a unified Democratic front. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said preceding the Senate vote: “While this procedure will not satisfy all on both sides, it’s a way forward… I’m confident that we can get the 60 votes in the Senate for a DACA bill. And now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate. It is a good solution, and I will vote for it.”
In sharp opposition to Schumer’s sentiments, California Senator Kamala Harris spoke out forcefully against the bill, saying in a statement: “I refuse to put the lives of nearly 700,000 young people in the hands of someone who has repeatedly gone back on his word… I will do everything in my power to continue to protect Dreamers from deportation.”
Again, it seems the Democrats are divided about the path forward, while the Republicans are united. As long as this is the working dynamic, those who are most vulnerable will continue to be harmed by this repressive and violent administration.