House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday she "fully" intended to use "every possibility" at her disposal to strike a deal with congressional Republicans on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, including withholding support from spending bills if an agreement cannot be reached.
"We're not at that place yet," Pelosi, D-Calif., qualified, according to the Washington Post.
"Right now, we're trying to get Republicans to vote on what we believe," she continued, referring to an up-or-down vote on a bill that would provide eligible so-called Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship.
The threat follows a conference call Sunday, in which a senior White House official revealed President Trump intended to propose an immigration reform agenda prioritizing border security, interior enforcement, and the creation of a merit-based visa system to Congress.
In response, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., issued a joint statement in which they announced they were unwilling to work with the Trump administration until Trump softens some of his key measures, including his promised southern border wall.
"I do believe the president when he says he wants to protect the Dreamers," Pelosi said Monday. "I do not think what his staff put forward is in furtherance of that. In fact, it's endangering them."
Despite the legislative battle ahead, Pelosi said the issue regarding illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children had to be settled "before Christmas."
"There's nothing in it to negotiate because it does not have shared values of who we are as Americans," she added. "As long as we understand that, let's go on with what we can agree on."