Please continue to contact your senators


January 22, 2018

UPDATE: The recent government shutdown ended with an agreement that the Senate will take up legislation to protect the Dreamers – people who have been in our country since they were children and know no other.
But getting decent protections to the finish line is highly uncertain. To get there, your senators and representative still need to hear from you. And time is running short. The agreement keeping the government open only lasts till Feb. 8 – that’s only 15 days from now. Although polls show 80 percent of the public support protecting the Dreamers, Congress measures the importance to voters by the calls they get.

Please call 1-855-764-1010 now to be connected with your senators and representative. (And a shout-out to our friends at the National Education Association for making this call-in number available!)

Congress cannot wait until the last minute – they must act now to defend hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who otherwise risk deportation. Every day that passes, more and more Dreamers lose their protected status – and with it, their jobs, their livelihoods, maybe even their homes are all at risk.

Please act now. Call 1-855-764-1010 and demand that Congress protect the Dreamers.

As you know, the partial federal government shutdown began in the beginning minutes of January 20.  Negotiations to resolve the impasse over the Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend government funding continue; a vote on whether to cut off debate will occur at noon today (Monday).

Please continue to contact your Senators.

As reported in the press, Majority Leader McConnell has offered to hold a separate vote on legal status for the Dreamers after a further CR expires (the new proposal would make that date February 8), if their status has not been resolved before then.  If this is agreed to, there would be no assurances that Dreamers’ legislation will be enacted.  In the Senate, there are many ways for Senators to hold up proceedings.  And there is no agreement in the House to vote for whatever the Senate may be able to agree to, much less any confidence that the President can be counted on to sign legislation if it ever does reach him.

A majority of both House and Senate would probably vote for the Dream Act if it were placed before them.  But there are so many ways for opponents to ensnarl this legislation.  That is why advocates have felt that there was no alternative but to include Dreamers’ legislation in a must-pass bill.  When advocates see Trumptweets with language like this “…The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!” they can be forgiven for distrusting any deal that involves a stand-alone vote.

Also important to note:  the House-passed stopgap bill that was rejected in the Senate had more problems than the lack of a solution for the Dreamers.  While in the past the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been accompanied by renewals for community health centers and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, the latter were left out of the House bill.  All three are essential.  Also urgent is disaster relief for Puerto Rico.  All of the recent disaster sites need more assistance.  But we single out Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because they have gotten very little so far, while their needs are massive.  These needs should not be left out of the funding bill.

We do not want a shutdown.  It had appeared that Senate Minority Leader Schumer was close to an agreement with the President over the weekend, only to see it rejected.  We hope that a short-term spending bill can be agreed to that addresses all these urgent needs, and that sets Congress on a path to agreement on lifting appropriations caps in a long-overdue full-year spending bill.

For information about how the shutdown affects various agencies, click here.
For CHN’s statement about the shutdown, click here.

Budget and Appropriations
immigration reform
Puerto Rico
Tipped workers
U.S. Virgin Islands