A Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday he is not interested in shutting down the government just because Republicans plan to pass a spending bill through Jan. 19 that doesn't include language helping the Dreamers.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said he and other Democrats want legislation passed to ensure hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children can stay in work in the United States. Nearly 800,000 have that right under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which President Trump has said he would rescind by March.
But Cuellar said he doesn't think forcing a government shutdown over that demand is the right approach.
"Would I shut down government because of DACA?" he said on C-SPAN. "With all respect, I wouldn't do that, but it's a way of trying to get leverage so we can address this issue."
"With all respect, even though I'm a strong supporter of DACA, I don't think that's the right way of doing it," he added.
DACA has been a difficult negotiation for Republicans and Democrats. Democrats are insisting on legislation that reconstitutes the program that Trump is set to wind down.
But in return, Republicans want border wall funding and a deeper overall commitment to border security, something Democrats have resisted.
Republicans on Wednesday released a proposed bill that would keep the government open through Jan. 19, and fund the military for the rest of the fiscal year.
But it does not include a DACA fix, and it's not clear if Republicans plan to take up a DACA fix after January.
Cuellar said he has been seeking a commitment from Republicans to consider a separate DACA bill next year.