Here’s How Republicans Are Coaxing Dems To Avert Gov’t Shutdown

Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

House Republicans are planning to offer Democrats an extension on a popular children’s health program if they are willing to delay a decision on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan rolled out a plan at a House GOP Conference meeting Tuesday that would keep the government funded through Feb. 16. The proposal offers a number of sweeteners for both conservatives and Democrats, including a 6-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Republicans will be satisfied that the bill does not include DACA provisions and pushes back a number of Obamacare taxes.

Congress has two days to strike a deal to keep the government funded through October. If members fail to come to an agreement by Jan. 19, all “non-essential” government employees and active U.S. Military personnel will be working without pay (including troops currently deployed). Funding for agencies like federal museums or national parks will also be cut off.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are pushing GOP leadership to tie a legislative solution for DACA to the must-pass spending bill. Democrats think they have the leverage to force leadership’s hands on immigration, believing a government shutdown would reflect poorly on Republicans, who hold a majority in both chambers of Congress.

“The fact remains the only way to guarantee the legal status for DREAMers is to pass DACA protections into law and do it now,” Schumer said Wednesday. “For that reason, a resolution to the DACA issue must be part of a global deal on the budget.”

House leadership is expected to begin whipping votes for the bill Wednesday and are hoping to put it up for a vote as early as Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw his support behind Ryan’s idea Wednesday morning on the Senate floor.

“As we all know, Congress has until Friday to reach an agreement that ensures continued funding for the federal government. By now, it is clear that we are not yet ready to move ahead with a major agreement on long-term funding for our armed forces, nor on immigration policy,” McConnell said.

“There is no cause whatsoever for manufacturing a crisis and holding up funding for the vital services of the federal government. What’s more, the near-term solution that Congress must pass this week will not only provide uninterrupted government funding. It will also contain a six-year reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program,” McConnell said. “We have until Friday to fund the government. I urge my Democratic friends to honor their stated commitments and join in a bipartisan effort to keep the government funded and reauthorize S-CHIP for struggling families across America.”

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