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DACA Negotiations Continue, But Government Shutdown Looms

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There are 3.5M DREAMers -- and most may face a nightmare

"I want to keep the government open".

On Sunday evening, Trump was pressed on the issue upon arriving at his West Palm Beach golf resort where he was to have dinner with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Top Democrats have signaled they will not support a spending bill unless they also reach a deal to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

"In the last 24 hours we've sensed a real shift from Republicans not believing Democrats are going to be resolute, to, 'Oh my god, Democrats are resolute and Republicans are joining in and we won't be able to pass the CR without negotiation, '" said Frank Sharry, a longtime immigration advocate with America's Voice Education Fund. The Obama-era scheme protects some 800,000 people. That's because Democrats want the two measures to move together.

But, McConnell is drawing up contingency plans to keep the Senate in session through the weekend if Senate Democrats block a short-term spending bill before the Friday deadline expires, according to two GOP aides.

With just two days before the USA government runs out of money, and President Donald Trump feuding with Democrats over immigration, Republican congressional leaders were left scrambling Wednesday to avoid a federal shutdown.

But since the president's comment was reported - and sharply criticized by Democratic leaders and a handful of Republicans - Trump has pulled back and, in fact, has said DACA is "probably dead".

Sen. Angus King, an independent from ME, said on CNN Thursday morning that he was exhausted of continuing resolutions. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, had been negotiating an immigration plan that they wanted to be part of the spending deal.

Here's the reality: If you don't give House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, this short-term spending bill, he's going to have to negotiate with Democrats (or the Senate has to go first on this, which creates a whole new set of messes). It was the very kind of deal that the president had said he would sign.

"Eventually, you gotta say 'no, '" Graham told reporters Wednesday.

"We don't want to shut down the government".

In other words: Five days until the government runs out of money to fully operate and there are more questions than answers.

Mr. Graham and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is not in Washington when the vote occurs. Conservatives and liberals alike have raised objections to passing another short-term spending bill, increasing the chances of a shutdown as lawmakers lurch toward the January 19 deadline.

Republicans have already started to shift the potential fallout to their Democratic colleagues.

"The president certainly doesn't want a shutdown, and if one happens you only have one place to look, and that's the Democrats", said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

But they arrived to find that Trump's senior adviser Stephen Miller had invited a cadre of immigration hard-liners who opposed the plan.

The U.S. Capitol building is lit at dusk ahead of planned votes on tax reform in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017.

But not everyone was sold.

Worldwide reaction to Trump's comments was strong, and US diplomats in Haiti and other nations have been called to host government offices to hear the complaints directly.

"I hope cool heads will hopefully prevail on this thing", he said, referring to the short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), that Republicans have proposed to extend funding and avoid a shutdown.

"Even if not one Dreamer ever existed, we would still have a problem", she said, adding that the real issue with the budget negotiations is the "lack of willingness of Reps ((Republicans)) to support a domestic agenda increase".

However, without any Democrats' votes, Republicans can only lose a handful of GOP lawmakers - and at this point it's not clear they can stop the bleeding. Until then, it has been communicated, sources tell CNN, that weighing in with a definitive yes-or-no answer on how they'd vote on a government funding bill isn't helpful or productive. Republicans, with 238 members, need 218 votes.

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