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Political Editors / February 6, 2018

Another Government Shutdown Looming as Deadline Approaches

Democrats demand a deal on DACA, while Republicans are concerned about getting the military fully funded.

It’s that time again. Congress has until Thursday to work out a spending bill in order to avoid another government shutdown. And once again the issue of immigration will be front and center as Democrats (claim to) demand a deal on DACA. In that light, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) announced a bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal alien Dreamers. The proposed legislation is likely dead on arrival, however, as it provides no funding plan for a border wall and it essentially would grant amnesty to well beyond President Donald Trump’s number of 1.8 million illegal immigrants.

McCain is seeking to placate Democrats in order to get full funding for the military. Defending his proposal, he said, “For months, I have been calling on my colleagues to complete a bipartisan budget agreement to lift the caps on defense spending and fully fund the military. While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border.”

Trump set a deadline of March 5 for ending Barack Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program. On Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he doubted “very much” that Trump would extend the program, explaining he was “not sure this president has the authority to extend it.” The pressure is on Congress to act, but Trump’s comments on supporting a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal aliens did not sit well with people at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. National ICE Council President Chris Crane recently sent a letter to Trump, stating, “We simply cannot in good faith support any legislative effort on immigration that does not include provisions regarding immigration detainers, sanctuary cities and the smuggling and trafficking of children across U.S. borders.”

And the recent death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson, killed by a twice-deported illegal alien who was drunk and driving unlicensed, will only serve to add more fuel to the demands that America finally and fully crack down on illegal immigration. Ironically, Jackson was killed on Super Bowl Sunday. Jim Geraghty of National Review notes, “Unsurprisingly, there are now voices lamenting that Jackson’s death should not be ‘politicized.’ This inevitable discussion is not politicizing what occurred; it is vividly illustrating the consequences of when a government decides, without much public debate, that certain laws, like entering the country illegally, may be violated without much consequence. Yes, some people enter the country illegally as adorable moppets and grow up to be high school valedictorians. But some people who enter the country illegally end up becoming drunk drivers. When you’re convicted of a DUI and then deported, we must have an ability to ensure those people will not come back.”

Back to spending legislation. The House passed a short-term measure to fund the government through March 23, but Senate Democrats — surprise — object and can block it. Thus, we continue to see government by crisis and political gamesmanship.

(Updated.)


Update: Senate leaders have unveiled a two-year deal that will get a vote soon.

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