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VOL. 133 | NO. 18 | Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cohen Skeptical End of Shutdown Will Resolve DACA Standoff

By Bill Dries

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A deal in Washington to end a federal government shutdown Monday, Jan. 22, after three days extends federal funding of government operations through Feb. 8.

The U.S. Senate and House votes approving the continuing resolution drew responses from state and local representatives in Congress that fell along partisan lines, but in some cases left out any reference to which party is to blame.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen voted for the continuing resolution but expressed concern that House Speaker Paul Ryan has not joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to bring the issue of a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA – to a vote.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

DACA is the Obama White House executive order that gives those who entered the U.S. illegally as children legal status to remain in the country. The order was abolished by President Donald Trump pending action on a new version of DACA by Congress.

“I seriously doubt he’d bring the Senate measure to the floor,” Cohen said of Ryan. “Instead, I suspect the House will be offered a more draconian immigration bill that the Senate can’t accept and the matter may well end in a stalemate.”

Also in the written statement after his vote, Cohen said Congress could face a similar stand-off in February when the three-week continuing resolution runs out, saying Trump and House Republicans “have shown no inclination to resolve outstanding issues on a bipartisan basis.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander likened the government shutdown to chemical warfare, saying it should never be used as a “bargaining chip.”

“I’m glad we’re back to work on reaching an agreement on a two-year budget deal, on needed military spending, on lowering the cost of health insurance for people buying insurance in the individual market, on the DACA bill, and on disaster relief,” he said in a written statement late Monday afternoon.

Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker tweeted after the agreement was a done deal: “Shutting down the government was inappropriate, but I am encouraged by the bipartisan discussions that have occurred over the past few days. I will continue working with my colleagues on a solution to the number of challenges still before us.”

Republican U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown said the shutdown was “unnecessary.”

“It was wrong of the Senate Democrats to hold our nation hostage,” he said in remarks on the House floor Monday afternoon. “But I am pleased that we can now move forward with funding critical programs like CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and our military.”

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