- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2018

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Monday that negotiations concerning protections for DACA recipients will not resume until the government is open.

“He was negotiating on DACA before the shutdown. He wants to continue discussion on DACA, but it will be after the shutdown. We are not going to be held hostage,” Mr. Mulvaney said on Fox News.

Discussions on protections for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children — known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA recipients — became entangled in budget talks when Democrats said they would not support any form of a spending bill, unless these protections were addressed. Republicans wanted to keep the issues separate and include DACA with a comprehensive immigration bill.

Since the bipartisan deal on immigration failed to meet President Trump’s approval, Democrats withheld support from the funding bill passed by the House. Some Republicans also withheld support saying they did not want to pass another short-term measure and should instead do a budget for the entire fiscal year.

The White House has remained firm that this shutdown was caused by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and the Democrats, but Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said certain White House aides keep derailing immigration talks, which in part led to the shutdown.

Mr. Mulvaney pushed back on this idea arguing that Mr. Trump is the policy decision-maker, not his staff.

“The president makes the decisions on about immigration in the White House, period, end of story,” he said.

Mr. Mulvaney added that the president is taking a break from negotiations to focus on governing during a shutdown and making sure agencies are running the best they can under the circumstances.

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