Jan 9, 2018

Congress is still barrelling toward an immigration showdown

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A wild afternoon of immigration news left Congress virtually in the same place as it was before a bipartisan group of lawmakers met with President Trump: headed for a government shutdown next week unless someone caves.

Between the lines: Republicans and Democrats are still miles apart on a deal to protect immigrants brought to the US as children. They're also still negotiating a spending caps deal. Without either of these questions resolved, there's a real possibility members of each party vote against a short-term spending bill next week, shutting down the government.

The problem: Congress is really trying to sort out three different things right now: An immigration deal addressing those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a deal to raise spending caps and a deal to keep the lights on past next Friday.

  • Democrats want a deal to protect the "Dreamers" by then. Today narrowed the scope of the conversation down to four issues — border security, chain migration, the visa lottery and Dreamers — but it's hard to overstate how far apart the two parties still are on these.
  • Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated on Tuesday that the spending bill and a DACA bill will be considered separately, which Democrats had not agreed to.
  • Republicans, especially defense hawks, want a caps deal that raises defense spending. Democrats say they'll agree to this only if the domestic spending cap is raised too.
  • It's unclear whether Democrats will vote for a short-term spending bill next week without a DACA deal, or whether defense hawks will vote for it without a caps deal. Losing these votes could result in a shutdown.

The bottom line: Both parties are under a lot of pressure from their base not to cave ahead of the Jan. 19 spending bill deadline. But something's gotta give, or next week will end with a shutdown — with the GOP controlling all three branches of government.

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."

The Biden-Trump split screen

Photos via Getty Images: Jim Watson/AFP (L); Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency (R)

The differences between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump are plain as day as the two respond to recent protests.

Why it matters: Americans are seeing firsthand how each presidential nominee responds to a national crisis happening during a global pandemic.

Louisville police chief fired after body cameras found inactive in shooting of black man

Louisville police officers during protests. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer fired the city's chief of police Steve Conrad after it was discovered that police officers had not activated their body cameras during the shooting of David McAtee, a local black business owner who was killed during protests early Monday morning.

Why it matters: Mandatory body camera policies have proven to be important in efforts to hold police officers accountable for excessive force against civilians and other misconduct. Those policies are under even greater scrutiny as the nation has erupted in protest over the killing of black people at the hands of police.