Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday evening that the Democrats "cut the best deal we could" for a short-term spending deal to end a three-day partial government shutdown without an immediate solution to protect so-called "Dreamers."
The Democratic leader has faced backlash from the Left who say he "blinked." In response to that criticism Schumer told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that the Democrats were at a major disadvantage because Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White house, and argued that not just moderates, but also liberals, were in favor of ending the shutdown when they did.
"For two days the government was shut down, but all of us in the Democratic caucus, not just the moderates but the liberals as well, came to the view that if we carried it on much longer, two things would happen," he said. "'A,' no one was budge. The public would lose support of the shutdown. The public does not like shutdowns. And we'd actually would lose support for Dreamers too, because people love the Dreamers but don't want the government shutdown for it," he said.
Hence, "we cut the best deal we could," he concluded.
Schumer remained optimistic that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would stick to his word and bring legislation to the floor for Dreamers by Feb. 8, when stopgap funding runs out, pointing to the meaningfulness of the Kentucky Republican's promise not only to Democrats but also members of his own caucus.
The vote will come just about a month before the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate refused to support the short-term spending bill on Friday, leading to a shutdown, as they called for a fix to protect the Dreamers.
The deal struck Monday, which funds the government, also reauthorizes the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years.
Schumer also reiterated his prior claim that he and Trump had come up with a deal, which would see Democrats supporting funding for a border wall in exchange for protecting Dreamers. While he said they "were close" to an agreement last week, Trump pulled away from the idea, so Schumer said Democrats have taken the wall off the table.