Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that there's plenty of both commitment and disgust in the Democratic caucus, and he predicted strong opposition to House Republicans' plan for another short-term spending bill that does nothing for the 700,000 young immigrants.
Immigration policy is the major sticking point between Republican and Democratic lawmakers, with negotiations on the topic breaking down following a meeting in which Donald Trump reportedly called certain countries "shithole countries".
The bill would also extend the popular Children's Health Insurance Program for six years, and - in a bid for votes from chamber conservatives - delay unpopular taxes on high-end health insurance and medical devices for two years while putting off a tax on health insurance providers by one year.
That will put pressure on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., to again muster enough votes from his majority to pass a bill without support from Democrats.
"I'm looking for something that President Trump supports and he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign", McConnell told reporters Wednesday. But the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 30 far-right Republicans, are split on their support.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly met with top Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday to resume immigration talks after days of sniping over vulgar remarks attributed to the president about African nations and other countries in a January 11 Oval Office meeting.
"He (Trump) is anxious that Democrats' unwillingness to actually put country ahead of their party is what's stalling things from moving forward, whether it's the budget or whether it's a deal on DACA", Sanders said.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus are pushing for a floor vote on a conservative immigration bill in exchange for backing the short-term funding measure, according to The Hill. But the chances of a shutdown appear to be growing as the deadline nears and discussions between Republicans and Democrats remain mired in uncertainty, mistrust and frustration.
Despite the complication of the DACA fight, Democrats have additional leverage on the spending cap issue since no party has had the government shut down while controlling both Congress and the White House since 1979.
If a temporary "continuing resolution" to keep the government operating results, it would be the fourth such measure since the 2018 federal fiscal year began on October 1, a sign of Washington's serious struggles to pass spending legislation.
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"It's the opposite of what I campaigned for", said Mr. Trump, calling the proposal "horrible" and "very, very weak".
Others expressed hope for concrete progress on thorny immigration topics as well as a spending deal that would remove the threat of a partial shutdown for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
But Schumer said Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, and could pass nearly any bill they want, and so the blame will fall on them if Congress does not beat the Friday midnight deadline by passing a spending bill.
But it was the Justice Department that announced in September that DACA would be canceled in March, creating a six-month window for Congress to write legislation protecting immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children or allow them to face deportation.
The US president gave a deadline of March 5 for Congress to come up with a solution. Democrats also want Republicans to match military spending Trump and many GOP lawmakers are seeking with an equal increase in nondefense funding.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled he wants to get a stopgap funding bill settled and leave more hard negotiations for later.
"Let's make a budget deal by Friday and let's come back to work aggressively on Monday and make a deal on Daca and responsible immigration reform", Sanders said.
"They claim they don't want to shut down the government, so it seems to me it would be a rather attractive package", McConnell said. Democrats have given ground on immigration, he said, and a deal is within reach. They would need 218 votes, which the 246-seat caucus ostensibly has.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the ruling "defies both law and common sense", and said they're asking the justices to hear the case directly and skip over the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.