Democrats insist that a long-term spending bill include a measure covering “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants brought to the country as children who were protected from deportation by former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Republican President Donald Trump ordered DACA to end in March and asked Congress to come up with a legislative fix. But bipartisan congressional negotiations with the White House faltered last week, prompting Republican leaders to begin pushing for the passage of a stopgap measure to fund the government through Feb. 16.
The White House said on Wednesday it supported passage of a short-term funding measure and that immigration talks could resume next week.
Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate and most legislation, including spending bills or an immigration deal, will require 60 votes to pass.
But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said there was “revulsion” among his colleagues for the stopgap proposal in the House and an “overwhelming number” would not support it.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is involved in the immigration negotiations, also said he would not vote for a short-term funding bill. His conservative colleague Mike Rounds told CNN on Thursday he could not back the current measure.
It was also unclear whether Republicans had the votes in the House to pass a short-term fix since members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus prefer additional defense funding.
The group’s leader, Representative Mark Meadows, told MSNBC television on Thursday there was not yet enough support among conservatives for the short-term funding measure.
“We still don’t have the votes here in the House. We made good progress last night. Hopefully, we’ll get there today,” Meadows said, adding that he spoke with Trump on Wednesday night. “He does not want a shutdown. He made that very clear.”
To entice lawmaker on both sides, the short-term bill would include a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to lure Democrats, while further delaying some taxes imposed under Obamacare to appeal to Republicans.
But that appeared to draw ire from the president, who said in a tweet on Thursday: “CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!”
Trump tweet CHIP
White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Trump would still support the measure and sign it into law if it passes both chambers.