Arrington: DACA talks should come after government is functioning

Arrington: DACA talks should come after government is functioning
(Source: NBC)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KCBD) - It has not been a very celebratory anniversary for President Donald Trump as he comes off his first year of his presidency.

A government shutdown is in full effect, something the country has not seen since 2013 during the presidency of Barack Obama. It was Democrats in the Senate that killed a bill at midnight on Saturday that would have funded the government for another four weeks. This was after the House of Representatives passed a bill off to the Senate.

The main sticking point that kept most Democrats from wanting the bill to come to life was the lack of funding for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals policy. The Democrat Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, made it clear in a Saturday news conference in Washington D.C. he was not backing down from protecting individuals that were protected by the policy.

"I'm frustrated and we're trying to find any way possible and any measure and any strategy and pressure to bring our colleagues on the Democrat side to the table," Jodey Arrington, Republican congressman from Texas district 19, said. "So we can reason and get this government back online and give some certainty to our troops, many of whom are going to go without a paycheck."

Casualties of the shutdown include national cyber security groups, portions of the Environmental Protection Agency, money in the Children's Health Insurance Program and men and women in the armed forces. However, trade negotiations and work within the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will continue, Mick Mulvaney, director of Office of Management and Budget said, during a live-streamed news conference in Washington D.C.

Though a hard hit to many citizens around the United States, Schumer said his actions were justified as Trump went back on his word of pushing Republicans in the Senate and in Congress to include funding for DACA. Schumer was under the impression there was a deal between him and the president to sit down and talk later this week on Tuesday night about both DACA and funding the proposed southern border wall.

"Now the lunch that seemed so promising was quickly overtaken by hard-right forces in the administration, even though we bent over backwards to meet the president's demands," Schumer said during the news conference. "Negotiating in this White House is like negotiating with Jello."

Schumer was under the impression that many of the Republicans in both the House and the Senate influenced the president to go back on his private deal, he said.

"It's next to impossible to strike a deal with the president, because he can't stick to the terms," Schumer said.

However, Arrington said he and his other colleagues in the House and around Capital Hill would be willing to work with Democrats to work out a deal for undocumented immigrants and those who benefit from DACA. The bill the House passed off to the Senate was near non-controversial and could have given more time for negotiation.

For this spending bill the focus was more on the issues surrounding the budget, which is why DACA was less of a concern, Arrington said. There is also some time before DACA permits expire; that date comes up in March.

"The discussions and negotiations have been ongoing and quite productive, I think," Arrington said. "So I think trying to mix the two or to use funding of government and the American people having their government work for them being held hostage for DACA is wrong. I think it's bad policy, I think it's terrible politics and I think the American people are going to suffer for it."

But Schumer is under the mindset that if DACA is not dealt with now, it may not ever be mentioned again. Democrats blame Republicans for the lack of inclusion, and Republicans are blaming Democrats for holding back the votes.

Trump has also weighed in on the issue as well, tweeting out, "Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can't let that happen!" Arrington feels the same, saying the only way DACA can be dealt with efficiently is if the U.S. has a functioning government to deal with the situation.

Even though the majority of government workers are not receiving pay for their duties this weekend, Arrington has informed the House clerk that he would like his pay withheld until the issue is resolved.

"I think the Democrats are at least entertaining basically what we sent over there in the first place so we can continue to add the appropriate timeframe so that we can negotiate these other things like DACA," Arrington said. "Because I know that's important to all of us. DACA is important to Democrats and Republicans too." 

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