Mulvaney, Ryan Say Reopen Government, Then Talk About DACA

(Bloomberg) -- Congress should vote to open the government tonight or Monday, then there can be discussions about dealing with immigration and other larger issues, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said.

“There’s a long way, I think, towards getting a larger deal, which is why it’s so important to go ahead and open the government now,” Mulvaney said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” also said Democrats should allow the government to reopen so talks can resume about protecting some 690,000 young undocumented immigrants registered under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

In a separate “Fox News Sunday” interview, Mulvaney said that at least three weeks are needed to debate DACA, and that other complex issues that Democrats are raising can be addressed after government funding is restored.

‘Nuclear Option’

The budget director appeared on three Sunday morning shows to offer the administration’s view of the impact of the federal government shutdown and the status of negotiations to end it.

Mulvaney also backed a Trump posting on Twitter Sunday suggesting the “nuclear option” be used to change Senate rules requiring 60 votes. That would be one way to break the stalemate because “we cannot open the government without Senate Democrat support,” Mulvaney said on CNN.

Marc Short, the White House legislative director, said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday that the administration is willing to be flexible on immigration but Democrats are creating an “implausible situation” by denying government funding over immigration, an issue not in the spending bill pending in Congress.

The U.S. government entered a partial shutdown early Saturday as Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans blocked a bill to fund the government after the two parties failed to break their deadlock over immigration. Negotiations are continuing.

Entitlement Programs

During a White House briefing on Saturday, Mulvaney said the administration was taking the closing on a day-by-day basis. He said some federal agencies had enough funds to continue operating while others were already broke. Social security and most other entitlement programs would continue for now, he said.

The pay period on Friday for federal workers is one goal post, he said Saturday, adding that government staff were notified over the weekend whether they would be working during the shutdown.

He said it was still being decided whether President Donald Trump will attend the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week if the government remains closed.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that another continuing resolution would only delay action needed on DACA and other issues

“There’s been a consistent failure by the Republican leadership in Congress to deal with these critical issues,” Durbin said. “We don’t want to see the situation that currently exists, but we want to see a solution that has meaning.”

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