Nancy Pelosi Government Shutdown Gambit Shows Where her Interests Lie

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Nancy Pelosi Paul Ryan

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants Ryan to commit to holding an immigration vote under a rule known as “queen of the hill” that she argues would be fair to both sides, since multiple bills could get votes and the one with the most support above the simple majority threshold would prevail.

Pelosi said she opposed that the spending deal because it does not include a permanent solution for undocumented immigrants affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.

Throughout her extended speech, Pelosi offered trenchant, poignant anecdotes about young dreamers, as well as some random tangents, because how can anyone go for 7 hours without occasionally drifting into incoherence? We’ve got Alyssa Milano, RuPaul and other stars cheering her on. New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey put a wrapped hard candy onto the dais as Pelosi’s voice grew hoarse close to the third hour. “Of course not we all agree on that”. That’s her stance, she said, unless Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, commits to holding a floor vote on legislation that would protect Dreamers. A Senate vote on the measure could occur as soon as Wednesday, though leaders have not yet scheduled any floor activity. If it passes the House, it will go to Trump’s desk to be signed.

Her goal is quite simple: to force Ryan to call a vote on immigration because he needs Democratic votes to pass any plan to keep the government open and to keep from looking like a bungler again. Their status has been in jeopardy since the Trump administration announced in September it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era initiative that has protected almost 800,000 of them from deportation. He’s now a sophomore at Harvard majoring in computer science, Pelosi said, and he’s paying for his education by working as a web developer.

Chances of a government shutdown dimmed this week following the Senate deal, but Pelosi’s public demonstration indicates a fight could be coming in the House.

“What are you afraid of?”

“I don’t know when we would have another opportunity that matches today” to lock Ryan into a commitment, Pelosi said. The House, in contrast, is the efficient, ruthlessly run congressional chamber where everything operates according to a strict schedule that the minority has little power to influence. “That’s his problem”, the Arizona Democrat said.

The deal raises the debt ceiling until March 2019, postponing a potential fiery clash within President Donald Trump’s own Republican Party, and essentially clears the decks for Congress to address other thorny issues such as immigration and infrastructure.

Democrats aren’t the only source of opposition Ryan may have to worry about.

The budget deal has also lost considerable support from conservatives like the House Freedom Caucus, who adopted a formal position against the plan. “I thank all of you”, she added. Though unusual, it seemed to have worked in delaying the budget bill, which will fund the government for the next two years.

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