High Stakes Negotiation Impacts Immigration to Avoid Government Shutdown

The U.S. Government will shut down at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, January 20th, 2018 if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement on some kind of spending bill.

This past Thursday night, the Republicans in the House of Representatives reached a compromise and rallied around a short-term government spending plan which most politicians hope will keep the government open for another four weeks.

Republican lawmakers in the Senate, however, will likely thwart the progress made by their own party members in the House. Republican Senators have voiced their intention to vote against the government spending plan, citing that repeated short-term funding measures harm the military.

Democratic Senators will also likely oppose the budget proposed by House Republicans because they are furious that the Trump Administration reversed its stance on the bipartisan Senate plan to protect thousands of young immigrants from deportation under the American immigration policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA, unofficially known as “Dreamers”). DACA, created in 2012 during Obama’s administration, currently is protecting thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Since DACA is a cornerstone of the Democratic platform, Democrats are poised to reject all deals and to gamble that President Trump will be forced to offer concessions to avoid a shutdown of the federal government.

President Trump, not to be left out of the fray, lambasted fellow Republicans in Congress for including a children’s health care program in the proposed short-term spending bill. Trump accused Republicans of using billions of dollars set aside for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as the means to garner Democratic votes for the short term bill. “CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” Trump said.

The process of policy-making and agreement on a national budget has always been fraught with accusations that the other party suffers from a myopic view and adheres to a self-serving “Republican” or “Democratic” agenda. This time around, though, the mood seems derisive even within the Republican camp.

As the deadline is just hours away, we need to come to terms with two possible outcomes. One possibility is that the government remains open with a short extension of government funding, to be followed by months of tortuous negotiations covered by the media. The other possibility, perhaps less likely, is a government shutdown. Under pressure, both friends, enemies, and “frenemies” seem to come together when the stakes are high.