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Ben Wikler @benwikler
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So, here's what's going on on the Hill right now.
By way of background: when the shutdown ended last month, McConnell promised an open Senate floor debate on DACA protections after Feb 8 *if the government is still open by then.*
Rs really don't like the idea of voting on Dreamer protections, because they divide their caucus and unite ours. If a vote must happen, R strategy is to pair DACA with nasty xenophobic provisions that can bring some of their right flank on board.
Dems don't like xenophobic nastiness. But without that, it's nearly impossible to get Paul Ryan to bring any bill with DACA protections to the House floor... unless it's necessary to get something else he wants even more.
What does Paul Ryan want? He presumably wants to keep his speakership by not pissing off the right. He wants a huge boost in military spending. And he wants to not have a shutdown.
The pro-Dreamer strategy, then, has been to not give way on military spending—meaning, on lifting budget caps—without getting Dreamer protections.
Hawkish Republicans really don't like passing stopgap spending deals—i.e. continuing resolutions, or "CRs,"—without getting their military spending. Each time a CR comes up, they've gotten more restless.
In the Senate, some of the biggest hawks—McCain, Graham have advocated Dreamer protections, arguing that this is a way to unlock defense dollars. In the House, though, lots of hawks are also virulently anti-immigrant.
House Ds don't want spending bills without Dreamer protections
House Rs don't want spending bills without a deal to raise military budget caps
Without enough Ds or Rs, spending bills die in House & gov shuts down
... so House Ds don't want budget caps deal without Dreamer protections.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, both parties shutdown-wary. Previously, Senate Ds weren't making a budget caps deal until Dreamer protections were sorted out. But after the January shutdown debacle, no more.
McConnell & Schumer negotiated a budget caps deal that doesn't protect Dreamers. If it goes through Senate and House, gov stays open, McConnell's deal holds, and Senate begins floor debate on Dreamer protections.
But even if a DACA bill gets 60 votes and passes the Senate, Paul Ryan could simply look at it and say "nah." Or he could start a debate on a far-right, Trump/Miller/Cotton/David Duke type bill, which would then get conferenced with the Senate bill.
To get an immigration bill through the House that Dems can support, you basically have to attach it to something else that Rs really want. So this morning, as House Dems heard about Dream-less budget caps deal, many were like: NO WAY.
That's why Pelosi went out to the House floor at 10am, almost 7 hours ago, to demand from Ryan a commitment like McConnell's for a Dream debate. As of right now, she's still there. Watch:…
Even if Ryan *does* make a promise to a later-on Dream vote, that still doesn't settle the question of whether Dems should agree to a caps deal without protecting Dreamers.
Meanwhile, Ryan might well refuse to make any commitments in response to Pelosi's #DACAbuster. In which case the picture is clearer for Dems.
At @MoveOn, we think the principle here is pretty clear: #NoDreamNoDeal.
If you don't want House Dems to go along with a spending caps deal that doesn't protect Dreamers, *call them.* Fill up voicemail boxes. Now's the time. 202-224-3121.
If House Dems do reject the deal, Ryan could, in theory, get enough Rs to vote for it. There's no filibuster in the House. But in reality, lots of House Rs are furious about the domestic spending part of the deal, and won't vote for it.
What are far-right Republicans so mad about in the budget caps deal? Stuff like funding Alzheimer's research and making college more affordable for police officers, teachers, and firefighters.
So if House Dems don't go for the budget caps deal because it fails Dreamers, and Rs reject it because, as well as funding defense, it spends money to help people, then it dies in the House & something else must pass to keep the gov open.
At that point, you might wind up with another deal like the one from January: continue 2017 funding levels for most things, add some sweeteners—maybe disaster relief for TX FL CA PR, community health centers—and leave the defense budget caps in place for now.
House Dems would vote against that as well, because it fails Dreamers too. House Rs would be angry at the delay in getting defense $, but probably not angry enough to agree to protect Dreamers. So the can would get kicked down the road again.
If Dems vote for the spending caps deal, then the fate of Dreamer protections look dicey. We fight on, of course. There would still be one more big must-pass bill that Dreamer protections could get attached to, to survive the House: the omnibus, in March.
But every time Dems give up leverage, the risk grows that momentum for Dreamer protections simply stalls—or that Rs force a terrible anti-immigrant bill that Dreamer groups & their allies wind up rejecting as worse than nothing.
Meanwhile, 122 Dreamers lose their DACA protections every day and face the very real threat of deportation. Starting March 5, that number shoots up past 1000, every day, for two years. One in four are parents. 20,000+ are teachers. 900 are currently serving in the military.
Court battles complicate the matter somewhat, unpredictably. But the mental toll of not knowing if your job will disappear and if you'll be ripped from your family and life is monumentally, devastatingly taxing. And multiple Dreamers are already in deportation proceedings.
So that's where we are in the fight. Probably, the government stays open this weekend—with or without a spending caps deal—and we have an intense Senate floor debate next week. But right now, the House has to decide on the spending caps deal.
House Dems have been largely united this year. But this vote is VERY uncertain. This is one of the first times where calling your Democratic Rep could make a big difference. So pick up that phone! 202-224-3121.

Tell them to hold fast: no Dream, no deal.
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