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In yesterday’s Primer, I talked a bit about how Donald Trump’s racist vulgarity had derailed immigration talks and threatened to shut down the government on Friday. With an immigration deal off the table, and with Republicans not having enough votes to avoid a shutdown without Democratic help, Republicans are now trying to lure Dems to support a short-term funding measure in exchange for long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which Congress inexplicably declined to renew last year. [NYT]

  • “With little hope of an immigration agreement this week, Republicans in Congress are looking to head off a government shutdown this weekend by pairing another stopgap spending measure with long-term funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, daring Democrats to vote no. The bill would leave in limbo hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. But Democrats would still be left with a difficult political decision: withhold their votes unless the plight of such immigrants, known as Dreamers, is addressed and risk a government shutdown, or vote to keep the government open and fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for nearly nine million children. The bill would set up another possible showdown in mid-February, with government funding set to expire Feb. 16. But it would give lawmakers time to continue negotiations on immigration and long-term government funding levels.”
  • A problem for Paul Ryan: “House Republican leaders may be unable to secure passage of the bill with solely Republican votes, since Republicans eager to increase military spending have been frustrated with stopgap spending measures.”
  • Another problem for Paul Ryan: “House Democrats, most of whom voted against the last stopgap measure in December, are not likely to embrace this bill either, given the impasse on immigration—especially after President Trump was said to have made vulgar remarks in a meeting on immigration last week.”
  • Without them, the far-right Freedom Caucus believes they have enough votes to kill the continuing resolution. [The Hill] To sweeten the pot, however, Ryan has also thrown in delays to two Obamacare taxes. [Politico]

WHAT IT MEANS: Congressional Dems have a decision to make. Do you take the CHIP funding and continue funding the government for another month, or do you draw your line in the sand here and say without DACA, no funds? Or, as Politico frames it: “Are they willing to shut down the government to protect Dreamers?

  • “Government funding runs out on Friday. And with talks about a bipartisan budget and immigration deal on the rocks, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are preparing a fourth short-term spending measure to buy more time to negotiate. But as the March 5 end date for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program looms, Democrats are under increased pressure to hold the line for a solution on immigration. Outside groups have urged Democrats to vote against any legislation until the matter is addressed, and some progressives are itching for a shutdown fight that forces Republicans to deal on immigration. Yet there may be enough moderate Democrats in the Senate—who are not eager to shut down the government over the issue—willing to push forward another short-term punt in funding.”
  • Meanwhile, things got heated in the Senate yesterday in response to Trump’s remarks, illustrating how big of a setback Shithole-gate has become. From WaPo: “Under intense questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed that the president had used ‘tough language’ in the meeting Thursday. At the same hearing, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who had joined Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) at the meeting in trying to persuade Trump to sign on to their bipartisan immigration proposal, said the negotiations had turned into a ‘s—show.’”
  • “And while Graham continued to seek support for his pact with Durbin, White House officials declared the proposal dead and began encouraging lawmakers to start over.”
  • “The lack of progress and the acrimonious words Tuesday exposed the extent to which Trump’s vulgar comments injected mistrust into already tense negotiations. “You can’t remember the words of your commander in chief,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said to Nielsen during the hearing, slamming his hand on the table, his voice shaking. “I find that unacceptable.”

Here’s some remarkable video of Booker and Nielsen’s exchange:

Related: The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow it to end


after a lower court overturned the administration’s plan. [WaPo]

Related:A brief history of Donald Trump’s racism, abridged. [INDY]