Ready For a Fight: Democrats Vow To Hold The Line Against Trump And His GOP Allies
As the January battle to keep the government open looms, Democrats have signaled that this is the fight they have been itching for.
In recent months, Democrats punted on some of their top priorities as the GOP passed short-term funding bills — a strategy that outraged liberals eager for confrontation on issues like immigration and health care.
Now, with another spending deadline approaching on Jan. 19, Democrats say the time has come to hold the line.
In a letter to rally her troops, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday laid out the party’s top priorities heading into the fight. The Democrats will “insist” on parity between defense and nondefense spending hikes, Pelosi wrote, while pressing “firmly” to protect the young immigrants affected by President Trump’s move to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The California lawmaker also promised a tough fight over new funding for veterans, pensions, the opioid crisis, health research, disaster aid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Democrats are focused on fulfilling the many long-overdue, bipartisan priorities facing the American people,” Pelosi said, according to The Hill.
The Democrats have plenty of leverage. Not only do they have the power to block bills with a Senate filibuster, but Ryan and House GOP leaders have struggled in recent years to secure even a simple majority for budget bills due to opposition from fiscal hawks in their own party.
“They can’t pass it by themselves,” said the Democratic aide.
With conservatives expected to oppose the funding omnibus over spending concerns, Democrats will likely have an opportunity to insist on a DACA fix weeks before the program’s March 5 sunset deadline.
Democrats are facing plenty of pressure from their own side to do just that.
As reported by The Hill:
On Wednesday that immigrant rights advocates — joined by celebrities including Alyssa Milano and America Ferrera — will rally at the Los Angeles office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to deliver an unsubtle message to the Democrats: deliver for the “Dreamers,” or pay a heavy price.
“DREAM Act or primaries,” Ady Barkan, a spokesman from the activist group CPD Action, said Tuesday. “We need Democrats to deliver on their promise to pass a DREAM Act now or we will put our full weight behind primary challengers who are ready to protect our communities.”
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), one of Capitol Hill’s most vocal immigrant rights advocates, is sounding a similar alarm.
“With new people becoming deportable every day, House and Senate leaders in both parties should not underestimate the urgency and the passion behind getting the DREAM Act passed right away,” Gutiérrez told The Hill Tuesday. “Our base wants us to fight for what is right — to take a stand against the bigotry and callousness coming from the White House.
“It’s backbone time for Democrats.”