Congress has a deadline on January 19 to pass a budget. If they don’t do anything then the government will begin a shutdown that will gradually close offices and end work on non-essential services. As things stand now, it will take Democratic votes to pass a new budget or to extend the deadline by passing a temporary fix (called a continuing resolution). Democrats don’t control the results on these issues but they can force a vote.
Overwhelming majorities of Americans - both Republicans and Democrats - support the Children’s Health Insurance Program which provides health insurance to children who live in or near poverty. Similarly there are broad, super majorities in support of a permanent legal status for DACA participants who are non-citizens, brought to this country as children but have lived most of their lives in the US.
These programs are vital to the health and wellbeing of millions of children and young adults - more than 700,000 in DACA and 9 million in CHIP. Using children as pawns in this political maneuvering over other issues is the definition of bad faith demagoguery.
Democratic leadership has been timid and ineffectual in their efforts on behalf of DACA and CHIP participants. This timidity has gotten us nowhere. While Republicans claim to support solutions to DACA and CHIP, they are using them as bargaining chips to undermine current health care programs and immigration laws. In fact, Republicans are divided with some 30 House Radicals who have a veto over the entire national agenda. Worse, President Trump is determined to disrupt the process; last week, he threw negotiations into disarray by adding new demands that Congress fund his Mexican border wall and restrict current legal immigration.
Because Democrats are philosophically dedicated to making government function well forcing a shutdown is a hard sell, but with all three branches of government fully in control of Republicans there is no other avenue to protecting these overwhelmingly popular programs. It is time for activists to turn up the heat on both sides.
Call To Action
Call both your Senators and your Representative - regardless of their political party - and demand that they fully fund CHIP without cutting other health programs and that they support a permanent legal status for all DACA participants without funding a border wall.