House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) assured Democrats on Thursday that in the whirlwind of budget negotiations, he hadn't forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants whose fates hang in the balance. "I know there is a real commitment to solving the DACA challenge in both political parties," Ryan said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects the so-called DREAMers from deportation. "That's a commitment that I share."
President Trump rescinded the DACA protections last year, setting a deadline of early March for Congress to come up with a legislative solution. But Ryan's stated "commitment" to immigration reform doesn't seem to stretch quite far enough for some House Democrats. Ahead of a vote on a budget deal set for Thursday evening, the speaker stopped short of promising a floor vote on DACA, prompting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to express her "unease."
Pelosi and other Democrats are in favor of opening up the House floor to a "free-flowing immigration debate," Politico reported, similar to what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised for the Senate. Pelosi told reporters earlier Thursday that she hoped Ryan would "man up" and allow a debate on the House floor.
Failure to come to an agreement on immigration reform caused the government to shut down briefly last month. If enough Democrats in the House are sufficiently dissatisfied with Ryan's assurances to oppose a proposed spending bill, another shutdown could begin at midnight Friday.