Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) slammed Senate Democrats on Thursday night, accusing them of allowing their liberal base to take the party hostage to prioritize illegal immigration over military families, the opioid crisis, and all Americans who rely on the federal government.
The House passed a continuing resolution with a vote of 230 to 197 on Thursday night to avoid a government shutdown, sending the bill to the Senate to vote on.
It remains uncertain if the bill with pass the Senate, and McConnell castigated Democrats for prioritizing the immediate passage of a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration amnesty program solution over the passage of a budget.
"My Democratic colleagues' demand on illegal immigration at the behest of their far-left base have crowded out all other important business–crowded it all out over the issue of illegal immigration," McConnell said. "And now they're are threatening to crowd out the needs of veterans, military families, opioid treatment centers, and every other American who relies on the federal government; all over illegal immigration."
He went on to say there is no imminent deadline for the Obama-era DACA program, and Congress doesn't have to reach a bipartisan agreement on it until at least March.
"Democratic Senators' fixation on illegal immigration has already blocked us from making progress on long-term spending talks. Now that same fixation has them threatening to filibuster funding for the whole government," McConnell said.
The Senate majority leader then singled out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for previously saying in 2013 that it would be "governmental chaos" for the government to shut down over the immigration issue.
"Earlier today on the floor, he insisted that we put every other American priority on hold–put it on hold–until we resolve immigration," McConnell said of Schumer. "Only then he said can we work on defense spending or domestic spending or CHIP or disaster relief. All of that on-hold over the issue of illegal immigration with no imminent deadline."
He continued his speech by pointing out the American people clearly don't expect Congress to act this way.
"We oughta pass this resolution and we oughta get back to work," McConnell demanded.
President Donald Trump echoed McConnell on Friday morning by castigating Democrats, saying they could force a government shutdown because they "want illegal immigration."
The fate of the short-term spending measure is unknown because at least six Republican senators have publicly come out against the measure, leading Senate Democrats to say they are confident they can block it from advancing, NBC News reported. Schumer has proposed a shorter stop-gap measure, which would fund the government for just four or five days, using the budget as a bargaining tool to push for an agreement on DACA.