Congress Averts Government Shutdown, But DREAMers Pay the Price

For the second time in the Trump administration, the government shut down over a failure to pass a federal budget. This time it was a short one — only a few hours long. But the long-term impact of the resulting deal could potentially be a death blow to DREAMers who hoped stay permanently in the only country they’ve ever known.

On Thursday night, the House and the Senate battled over yet another continuing resolution to try to keep the government funded, with Kentucky Tea Party Senator Rand Paul fighting against a vote in the Senate and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blocking it in the House. Paul was concerned about raising the debt ceiling and adding massive government spending to funding packages for the military and some social safety net programs. It was his usual “anti-deficit” PR stunt.

Pelosi’s reservations were more specific and urgent. For months, the Democrats had stated they would not pass a budget without a promise of protection for DREAMers — those who came into the country as children and had been allowed to stay over the decades, leading lives just like any American. With DACA expiring in early March, they face deportation to countries they don’t even remember, and the Republican Congress has done nothing to follow through on a way to allow them to stay.

Recognizing that this could be the last chance for leverage to get a DACA vote, Pelosi pulled and old fashioned filibuster – an eight-hour speech to Congress, pleading with them not to vote on the new budget — which included yet another “promise” there would be a vote on immigration issues later.

It was the same line Democrats were fed in order to get the last continuing resolution passed — the one where Democrats caved in order to get funding reauthorized for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the same line Republican Senator Jeff Flake was offered in order to get his support for the massive tax rebate for the rich.

Unfortunately, despite Pelosi’s pressure, it worked again.

While Democrats did get another few years of extended CHIP funding and $90 billion in disaster relief and health care provisions, it can’t be ignored that they essentially funded popular, bipartisan needs that all but the most deficit-hawk feigning Republicans agree with as well. Meanwhile, the GOP managed to extract a whopping $300 billion in military spending for two years — marking the most massive increase in recent history. And this comes at a time when the right claims that government overspending may force them to begin cutting programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

So was this the end of all hope for the DREAMers? Sadly, it’s starting to look like it.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan again promised on the House floor that once the government was funded again, the DACA vote would happen:

I know that there is a real commitment to solving the DACA challenge in both political parties. That’s a commitment that I share. To anyone who doubts my intention to solve this problem and bring up a DACA and immigration reform bill, do not. We will bring a solution to the floor — one that the president will sign.

The words are encouraging, but there’s little doubt that Democrats lack leverage at this point. DACA expires in just a few weeks — long before the next budget crisis showdown. And that leaves only the hope that Republicans will vote to extend protections simply because it is the right thing to do, and because 70 percent of the country believes that DREAMers should be allowed to stay.

Unfortunately, this is the modern GOP we are talking about – a party that continues to embrace President Donald Trump. Obviously, neither popular opinion nor doing the right thing matters much to them.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Marie W
Marie W9 months ago

Thank you for posting

Danii P
Past Member about a year ago


cecily w
cecily wabout a year ago

Thank you, Brian F. The U.S. population in 2000 was fewer than 282 million. During the Summer of 2017, the U.S. population surpassed 325 million.

Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Thank you for posting.

Danuta W
Danuta Watolaabout a year ago

thank you for posting

Peggy B
Peggy Babout a year ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Bearaabout a year ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Bearaabout a year ago

A death blow? Who is going to kill them? Rewrite this over the top sentence. You mean, a disappointment.

Margaret G
Margaret Goodmanabout a year ago

I hope that all who are anti-immigrant are also in favor of every woman in the world having affordable, legal, convenient, effective, safe, accessible, and legal birth control and abortion.

Lisa M
Lisa Mabout a year ago