Pelosi Wants Ryan to Pledge Vote on Dreamers as Condition for Budget Deal

02/07/18 11:24 AM EST
By Kristina Peterson 

WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday morning she would oppose an emerging two-year budget caps deal unless House Speaker Paul Ryan promises to bring an immigration bill up for a vote.

Mrs. Pelosi's stance adds a fresh hurdle to Republican leaders' efforts to prevent another government shutdown when its current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Congressional leaders are expected to announce later Wednesday a two-year budget deal raising federal spending for both defense and nondefense funding, but the GOP majority in the House will likely need Democratic votes to pass it.

"The budget caps agreement includes many Democratic priorities," Mrs. Pelosi said Wednesday morning on the House floor. But without a pledge for a coming immigration vote, "this package does not have my support," the California Democrat said.

The two-year budget deal would separate efforts to keep the government funded from an immigration fight over the fate of undocumented immigrants called Dreamers, who were brought to the country at a young age. President Donald Trump in September ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that shielded them from deportation, but gave Congress until March 5 to pass its replacement.

As part of an agreement to end a three-day partial government shutdown last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) pledged to bring an immigration bill to the Senate floor. But on the House side, Mr. Ryan has said he would bring an immigration bill to the floor only if it is backed by Mr. Trump.

"We're not going to bring immigration legislation through that the president doesn't support," Mr. Ryan told reporters Tuesday.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Republican, reiterated that stance Wednesday.

"Speaker Ryan has already repeatedly stated we intend to do a DACA and immigration reform bill -- one that the president supports."

The Senate is expected to add the two-year budget deal, which would set overall spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2018 and 2019, to a short-term stopgap bill keeping the government funded through March 23 that passed the House Tuesday. Those changes will send the spending package back to the House.

But conservative House Republicans are likely to balk at the size of the two-year budget caps deal, which is likely to boost federal spending by close to $300 billion over two years.

That means House GOP leaders are likely to have a difficult time securing enough support to pass the spending package this week with just GOP votes. They will likely need Democratic votes, giving the minority party some leverage that they had lost in previous short-term spending bills, which were able to pass with just GOP support.

Many House Democrats want to use their leverage to make sure the immigration debate doesn't get sidelined.

"They're going to have to come deal with us, and if that's the case we should get some sort of concession out of that," said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D., Ariz.).

--Natalie Andrews contributed to this article.

Write to Kristina Peterson at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 07, 2018 11:24 ET (16:24 GMT)

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