The US Congress has voted averted a government shutdown for now – but an immigration fight still looms as Democrats demand a permanent fix to protect young undocumented immigrants – so-called “Dreamers”.
The House of Representatives and Senate have voted to extend government funding – which was set to run out on Friday – for another two weeks, setting up a potential showdown over controversial issues such as immigration later this month. Multiple Democratic senators have suggested they won’t vote for any long-term government funding bill unless it also includes a permanent fix for so called Dreamers.
Former President Obama had protected young immigrants brought to the US as children – known as Dreamers – by allowing them to work and learn without threat of deportation. However President Donald Trump has rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.
During an afternoon meeting with Mr Trump – who now needs to sign the and other administration officials, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell stressed that negotiations on immigration should be held separately on a different track, and not as part of the government funding bill, according to the White House.
A readout from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The President reiterated his priorities for ensuring any immigration package ends chain migration, constructs a border wall, and substantially strengthens immigration enforcement to stop illegal immigration and visa overstays.”
Before the start of the meeting in the Oval Office, Mr Trump stated they were all there “as a very friendly, well-unified group. It’s a well-knit-together group of people.”
He added: “And we hope that we’re going to make some great progress for our country. I think that will happen, and we appreciate it very much.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “We hope we can come to an agreement.”
“Funding the government is extremely important, helping our soldiers is very important, and helping average citizens is very important,” he added. “So we’re here in the spirit of: let’s get it done.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said they hoped to address topics including the opioid crisis, programmes for veterans and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.
CHIP covers nearly nine million children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid – a healthcare programme for the those on low-incomes – but not enough to afford other coverage. Having…