The chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Thursday she expects Republicans to come forward to demand a fix to protect undocumented immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. when they were children.
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a New Mexico Democrat, said she expects to see a letter released later Thursday with about 25 to 50 Republicans calling on Speaker Paul D. Ryan to give them a chance to support a fix to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which offered deportation relief and work permits to some 800,000 childhood immigrants.
“You got nine days, what is your plan? What is your path?” Lujan Grisham said.
Both Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declined to directly comment Thursday on a DACA fix.
“You’ve got to show up if you want to make your point,” Ryan said of the Democratic leaders who chose not to attend a White House meeting Tuesday on spending bill negotiations after President Donald Trump tweeted that he didn’t “see a deal” with them.
“I don’t think Democrats are in a very good position to be making demands if they’re not going to show up for negotiations,” Ryan added.
The Wisconsin Republican did not appear to back off his previously stated position that a fix for DACA should be separate from the spending measure, and does not need to be addressed by the end of the year.
Pelosi declined Thursday to say whether she would vote to keep the government open if there’s no DACA deal.
“I’m not going to say how I’m going to vote on any bill until I see it,” she said.
Lujan Grisham said the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is still seeking more Republicans to support a DACA deal.
“As they talk about giving their leadership options, they feel like they did their part and those options are waning,” she said.
Lujan Grisham said Virginia GOP Rep. Scott Taylor is leading the charge on the letter.
“The intent here is to tell Ryan if there is not something clear, a plan to get here soon, then you bet we are all … going to get on the discharge petition. You lose the opportunity to direct exactly how, what, when and where,” she said. “What we have been saying is this delay tactic intended to give leadership their political leverage hurts people, is untenable and you are out of time.”
Trump announced in September he would be rolling back the DACA program put in place by the Obama administration.
It previously appeared the president would be able to come to an agreement on the issue with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
But Trump tweeted Tuesday that Pelosi and Schumer’s positions made a deal untenable and led to the Democratic leaders pulling out of a meeting.
Lujan Grisham on Thursday criticized Trump’s remarks.
“I was personally offended by the president’s statements that Democrats don’t care about national security, border security or tax relief,” she said.
“When they bring us reasonable border security issues in omnibus or any other package that would deal with making sure that fentanyl isn’t coming across the border, I can’t imagine a Democrat that isn’t going to be incredibly in favor of that,” she said.
The New Mexico congresswoman, who is running for governor, said Trump’s remarks are a way for him to blame Democrats for the lack of legislative progress in a Republican-majority Congress.
“I think Republicans, to their credit, are not interested, as a majority vote bloc, in funding a wall,” she said.
Lujan Grisham said she was not interested in a temporary DACA solution.
“I am only considering how exciting it is going to be for me to vote on a DACA fix, and that’s the bill I’m focusing on and expecting to see,” she said.
Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.