"House Republicans cannot move their extreme, cruel, unworkable anti-immigrant agenda through the regular legislative process, so they're trying to make an end-run around Congress and hold the American people hostage to force it into law."
The Democratic chairs of leading congressional caucuses said late Thursday that they oppose any last-minute effort to cram immigration policy changes into government funding legislation as House and Senate Republicans consider doing just that, with a shutdown less than 48 hours away.
"It is not appropriate to establish new immigration and border policy in a bill to keep the government funded," the chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Congressional Black Caucus said in a joint statement.
"House Republicans cannot move their extreme, cruel, unworkable anti-immigrant agenda through the regular legislative process, so they're trying to make an end-run around Congress and hold the American people hostage to force it into law," they continued. "Even Minority Leader Senator McConnell has said, 'Shutting down the government isn't an effective way to make a point.' We couldn't agree more."
The Democrats' statement came in the wake of news that members of the House and Senate—with the reported backing of some Democrats in the upper chamber—are discussing the possible addition of immigration and border measures to a short-term government funding bill in a bid to win the votes of intransigent House Republicans.
Earlier this week, as the chaos-ridden House failed to make progress, the Senate advanced a legislative vehicle for a continuing resolution that would keep the government through November 17—an attempt to buy time for both chambers to approve full-year funding measures.
Citing two unnamed Republican aides, The Washington Postreported that "by Thursday evening, Senate Republicans were considering an amendment to the continuing resolution that would include $6 billion in funding for border security but no new immigration policy."
According to the Post, Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) "appeared to be involved in the talks."
On Friday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)—who is facing a potential removal plot by far-right House Republicans—is expected to put on the floor a Republican stopgap funding measure that includes major federal spending cuts and border policies.
The Wall Street Journalreported late Thursday that the GOP package includes changes that "House lawmakers passed earlier this year in a broader bill that orders construction to resume on the Trump administration's border wall." That bill was dead on arrival in the Senate.
"The border measures, which have broad backing in the conference, would also make it harder for people to remain in the U.S. under the protection of asylum rules," the Journal noted.
House Republicans' latest effort to move ahead with a short-term funding package will come after they passed several appropriations bills Thursday night, including measures to fund the Pentagon and State Department.
But the House voted down the GOP-authored agriculture appropriations bill, which included steep cuts to food aid for low-income families and a rollback of abortion pill access.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement that lawmakers "should have spent this week working together to prevent the government from shutting down."
"Instead, we spent it watching House Republicans in chaos, loading up their 2024 funding bills with deeper cuts and dangerous policies that harm the economy and raise the cost of living for American families," said DeLauro. "Another day of Republican dysfunction, two days until they shut the government down."