Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested Tuesday that Democrats won’t insist on “Dreamer” protections as part of this month’s omnibus spending bill.
“I think the omnibus needs to be considered on its own merits, and then we ought to move ahead on DACA,” Hoyer told reporters during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
That strategy would mark a shift from last month, when Hoyer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders had rejected a bipartisan budget agreement because it was not accompanied by a specific commitment from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to consider legislation salvaging DACA, which President Trump is trying to wind down. The strategy also runs the risk of angering the immigrant rights activists pressing Democrats to use every tool they’ve got to solidify DACA protections.
Ryan and GOP leaders will need Democratic votes to pass the omnibus due to entrenched opposition from Republican spending hawks — a dynamic Democrats know well.
“The Speaker will not have the votes on his side of the aisle to pass the bill,” Hoyer said. “So he’ll have to expect, and count on, Democratic votes.”
Yet Democrats don’t seem ready to use their leverage to insist on DACA protections as part of the package. Instead, they’re pressuring Ryan to bring a series of separate DACA bills to the floor in back-to-back votes, as Senate GOP leaders had done last month in the upper chamber.
“I’m not going to draw a direct relationship between the two. We want to get DACA done; we want to do what the president said he would do: pass a bill here, he’ll sign it, he’ll take the heat [from] his right wing,” Hoyer said.