Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a rising Democrat star, and a potential presidential contender in 2020 voted against a bill to re-open the federal government on Monday, contending that the budget should have done more to protect illegal aliens.
In a statement, the junior Senator from California and rising Democratic star said (via CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly):
Our government made a promise to our Dreamers and it is long past time that we kept that promise. These are young people who are Americans in every respect except on paper. They have been waiting far too long to live securely in the only place they have ever called home
The Majority Leader’s comments last night fell far short of the ironclad guarantee I needed to support a stopgap spending bill. I refuse to put the lives of nearly 700,000 young people in the hands of someone who has repeatedly gone back on his word. I will do everything in my power to continue to protect Dreamers from deportation.
It is also time that we stop governing from crisis to crisis and ensure that priorities critical to Californians are funded for the future. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find a long-term solution that supports members of our military and national security priorities, funds children’s health insurance and community health centers, provides resources for those recovering from disasters like the California wildfires, and guarantees a future for young immigrants who are as American as all of us.
The bill to fund the government not only passed the 60-vote filibuster threshold but also won 80 votes (to 18 against), as more than two dozen Democrats changed their votes.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) suffered an embarrassing surrender after the government was closed for just two days, getting nothing more from Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) than a “commitment” to vote on legalizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — which the majority had already committed to doing anyway.
The outcome was a rare setback for Democrats in government shutdown situations when they often hold the other hand.
Sen. Schumer has been urging Republicans to shut down the government ever since they regained control of the House in the 2010 elections, and apparently believed — before today — that deny such shutdown would benefit his party.
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