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Sen. Chris Coons: Democrats Don't Want a Government Shutdown

Sen. Chris Coons: Democrats Don't Want a Government Shutdown

By    |   Friday, 19 January 2018 02:18 PM

Democrats don't want a government shutdown, and are working hard on ways to keep one from happening, despite claims being made by Republicans about the standoff over legalizing the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, Sen. Chris Coons insisted Friday.

"None of us want a shutdown," the Delaware Democrat told MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" program.

"Democrats in particular see the ways in which a shutdown government hurts people. But we are out of patience for short-term patches for unmet promises, and I do know that senator chuck Schumer is working hard and diligently."

Coons said he's been working to help Republican colleagues understand how Democrats perceive statements such as that made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said Thursday night that the impasse is all about illegal immigration and a matter that has no urgency to it.

Further, after President Donald Trump rejected a bipartisan plan for DACA last Thursday, "it is hard for Democrats to believe that there is seriousness on the part of Republicans about addressing that another time," said Coons.

A shutdown, though, will hurt many other things, including disaster relief, the Children's Health Insurance Program, community health centers and more, said Coons.

"It's just stacked up to a point where we need a deal," said Coons.

He said he believes Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is reportedly meeting with Trump this afternoon, will bring an amendment to the continuing resolution passed by the House Thursday that senators can and should agree on to avoid a shutdown.

Coons said such a package could include a "robust disaster relief" plan for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, western wildfires as well as Texas and Florida and hurricane recovery funding.

"There's also a pension issue that I think is not widely known, but is a long-standing unevolved issue that would be addressed in this," said Coons. "It would also ensure in the event of a shutdown, Department of Defense personnel would be paid.

"It addresses a wide range of issues from funding for the opioid crisis to disaster relief to our now months overdue budget agreement that would allow us to move forward on appropriations for the fiscal year that started in October."

The measure has not been presented to the entire Democratic caucus, said Coons, but he expects it would be supported, based on the outline he's seen.

The challenge is, though, that without clarity from Trump, it will be difficult to negotiate over DACA, said Coons.

"I'm encouraged that President Trump has apparently chosen to delay his trip to go play golf at his resort in Florida and his $100,000 a head fundraiser tomorrow to celebrate his inauguration," said Coons.

"I'm encouraged to hear the House is choosing to stay in . . . this is a perfect moment for the president to exceed our expectations and show that he really is the dealmaker that I think millions of Americans who voted for him thought he would be."

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Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said his party doesn't want a government shutdown, and are working hard on ways to keep one from happening, despite claims being made by Republicans...
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Friday, 19 January 2018 02:18 PM
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