Setting up a potential January shutdown fight with the Democrats, President Donald Trump promised on Friday morning to reject any legislation that protected Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients unless it also included funding for his signature campaign promise of a wall along the border with Mexico.
Trump’s tweet was unequivocal that “there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border,” presumably indicating that he would veto any bill that protects the so-called "Dreamers" from deportation if it does not also include funding for the wall.
Democrats, for their part, have indicated that they will not vote for any further measures to keep the government funded if those measures do not include protection for the "Dreamers."
If neither side blinks on their promises, the government will shut down when the current continuing resolution runs out on Jan. 19.
The two sides have rattled sabers about a government shutdown tied to either a legislative fix for the DACA program or funding for the border wall for months. On several previous occasions, they have debated the issue right down to the final hours of government funding, only to reach an agreement to fund the government for another brief period. The most recent compromise extended the shutdown date from Dec. 22 to Jan. 19.
There are signs, however, that one side or the other may be willing to actually force a shutdown in January. Both sides were hesitant to furlough government workers during the Christmas holidays. But in the new year, that political calculation will not apply.
It is probable that enough votes exist on the Republican side of the aisle to pass a long-term funding resolution that includes a legislative fix for DACA without funding for the border wall, but it is unclear whether House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would allow such a bill to reach Trump’s desk, which would force him to either go back on his promise or veto the bill, and take the blame for a potential government shutdown.
Democrats, for their part, are promising not to blink. In a joint statement released by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), they declared that funding for the wall had been “explicitly ruled out of negotiations,” and declared that they would not sign on to any plan that either funded the wall or did not protect the "Dreamers."
Because Republicans used the once-a-fiscal-year reconciliation process in the Senate to pass the tax reform bill, Democrats can use a filibuster to block any funding resolution in the Senate.