House Democratic leader flexes muscle in opposing U.S. budget deal


Critics have accused Pelosi and other Democratic leaders of failing to maximize their leverage in recent budget fights for the sake of securing legal protections for the "Dreamers", young immigrants brought to the country illegally as kids. As of this writing she is still refusing to support funding of the federal government until the immigration issue is resolved. It's unclear how much longer she will talk (Strom Thurmond's Senate filibuster record of 24 hours and 18 minutes is probably not in any danger), and the House historian is still looking into parallel House speeches that may have exceeded Pelosi's.

"I still have more", she said later as she was completing her speech to applause by fellow Democrats in the chamber. As congressional negotiators finalized a stopgap spending deal that omitted any protections for Dreamers, Pelosi registered her strong but futile opposition.

"Bring everything to the floor", Pelosi said.

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"We have a moral responsibility to protect Dreamers, who are the pride of our nation and are American in every way but on paper", she said.

Senators hope to approve the measure Thursday and send it to the House for a confirming vote before the government begins to shut down at midnight.

The prospective longer-term budget agreement would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies relief from a budget freeze that lawmakers say threatens military readiness and training as well as domestic priorities such as combating opioid abuse and repairing the troubled health care system for veterans. Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration America's Voice, said in a statement that Democrats must vote against the deal to prove their commitment to DACA recipients.

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That group includes both the 690,000 now shielded and also "the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn't sign up", he said.

Tuesday night's 245-182 House vote, mostly along party lines, set the machinery in motion. "It's going to need bipartisan support". "We will be joining primaries this year and we will primary Democrats who did not have the spine or the courage to stand up for our undocumented family".

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer urged Democrats to vote no on the budget deal slated for a vote on the House floor late Thursday.

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