One of the other issues confronting Congress this week will be what will be the next steps on DACA? There seems to be no path forward for the more than 700,000 DACA-covered young people. The expiration date or the implementation date for the Presidents executive order is March 5, next Monday.
The courts, at the moment, have blocked that action. That may mean that the likely outcome is that so many young people will live in uncertainty including those teaching in schools and serving in the military. There is the possibility that Congress could simply extend DACA for one or two years and attach it to the March 23 final appropriations. The Senate number two leader, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) did not reject the idea shortly before the break but there are hurdles that may become clearer this week as Congress gathers.
What is uncertain is where the White House and the President will be and whether or not it will even matter if Congress decides to attach it as the best option.
Four different bills failed to get a 60-vote filibuster proof vote. The President’s four pillar plan (DACA, Border wall funding, family migration elimination, and visa lottery elimination) went down in the biggest defeat of all the measures when it received only 39 votes. A bipartisan plan did get a majority of 54 votes but that’s not enough to break a Senate filibuster.
The President showed his power with members of his own party by aggressively fighting that bipartisan bill despite the high publicity around a fall 2017 meeting with Minority Leader Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) that they had all agreed to the general outlines of a plan. Then there was an early year televised cabinet room meeting with the President saying he would sign what Congress could agree to and that he would take any political heat in doing so.