Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) did not take kindly Thursday to a CBS host's suggestion Democrats could be responsible for a government shutdown if they dig in their heels over the DREAM Act in the latest budget showdown with the Republicans.
As part of the government funding bill, Sanders and Democrats he caucuses with want a permanent legal fix for "Dreamers," the term for the children of illegal immigrants that President Barack Obama shielded from deportation via the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) executive order in 2012. President Donald Trump rescinded DACA in September, giving Congress the opportunity to craft a legislative solution by March.
"You have said you will not vote for a spending bill without a permanent fix for Dreamers," CBS host Bianna Golodryga said to Sanders.
Trump warned over the weekend of a possible shutdown and said it would fall on Democrats who want "people flowing into our country."
"Are you willing to take that responsibility?" Golodryga asked Sanders.
"No, it's certainly not going to be the Democrats' fault," Sanders said, noting the GOP controls both chambers of Congress before going on to assail Republicans for focusing on tax cuts and defense funding instead of the "needs of the working class."
Golodrya quoted a Sanders statement from 2013, the last time the government shut down, when he ripped the GOP for trying to "hold the American people hostage" because they couldn't get their way to stop Obamacare funding.
"It is wrong for right-wing Republicans to ignore the results of the last election and hold the American people hostage by threatening to shut down the government because they can’t get their way," Sanders said at the time.
After Golodryga read the statement, she asked, "What makes this different?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Sanders said. "Why are you assuming that we are shutting down the government? Who wants to shut down the government? I don't want to shut down the government. I don't know of anybody who wants to shut down the government."
"Well, Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that this isn't a pressing issue. You still have three months until the DREAM Act comes up," Golodryga said.
"Oh, Mitch McConnell said that," Sanders said sarcastically. "Oh, I forgot. Last I heard, Mitch McConnell was the leader of the Republican Party who just passed tax breaks for billionaires and tried to throw 32 million Americans off of the health insurance they have."