Pelosi Stands Ground on Budget Unless House Agrees to Dreamer Vote

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., is shown on television as she speaks from the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, as a news conference that she was supposed to attend goes on in the background. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CN) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., broke the record for longest ever House floor speech Wednesday evening as she vowed to hold the floor — and oppose a two-year budget deal struck earlier in the day by Senate leaders — until Speaker Paul D. Ryan commits to the consideration of immigration reform legislation.

Pelosi’s stand threatens to scuttle the budget deal and could lead to the second government shutdown in three weeks. The conservative Freedom Caucus has already announced they oppose the Senate budget plan because it will greatly increase the deficit.

Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, have said for months that they will continue to use spending bills as leverage until an agreement is reached on extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.

President Donald Trump last year ended the program, which provided protections for deportation for people in the country illegally who were brought to the United States as children. The program officially expires on March 5, giving Congress a short window to pass an immigration bill.

As the dinner hour approached in the East, Pelosi, 77, had been speaking on the House floor for nearly seven hours, having begun talking at 10:05 a.m.

Wearing four-inch heels and forgoing any breaks, she read aloud the stories of individual beneficiaries of the DACA program, known as “Dreamers,” and argued the merits of allowing them to stay in the country.

“You see, these people are being deported,” Pelosi said around hour six of her speech. “We can do something today to at least make whole the children.”

Pelosi also repeatedly warned her Republican colleagues that neither she nor “a large number of members of our caucus” would support the budget deal without a clearer statement on the future of DACA from GOP leaders.

As part of the deal to end the three-day shutdown last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised to allow open-ended floor debate on immigration legislation after Feb. 8.

But Ryan has not made a  similar pledge in the House or guarantee that any bill passed by the Senate would be considered.

This story is developing. …

 

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