- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday rejected efforts to shoehorn a major immigration fight into year-end talks over avoiding a government shutdown, saying illegal immigrant “Dreamers” should be tackled in separate legislation.

The announcement is a blow to immigrant-rights advocates who have set an artificial year-end deadline for passing a bill to grant Dreamers full legal status.

Republicans including Mr. Ryan have said there’s no rush, pointing instead to a March 5 deadline when the phaseout of the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty kicks in.

“DACA’s separate, that’s a separate issue,” Mr. Ryan told reporters Tuesday.

The government is operating on a two-week funding bill, approved last week and lasting through Dec. 22.



Top congressional leaders are negotiating an overall spending number for 2018 and 2019, and once that’s done Mr. Ryan said the House will send over its full package of spending bills approved earlier in the year. The Senate has yet to approve any of its spending bills.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday that the spending negotiations are “advancing well,” but listed sticking points.

Democrats say that any increase in defense spending must be coupled dollar-for-dollar with a hike in domestic spending. Mr. Schumer said that money could go to care for veterans struggling in a troubled bureaucracy, to boost the fight against the opioid epidemic, or for a bailout for workers who saw their company pensions dry up after the 2008 Wall Street collapse.

Mr. Schumer also said he’s still hoping to tackle immigration in the year-end bill, saying Democrats could accept “a significant investment in border security in exchange for DACA.”

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