The White House will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a six-month delay for Congress to act. The Trump administration is phasing out DACA — an Obama-era initiative that conferred deportation protection and work permits for nearly 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants — unless Congress passes a bill by March to protect recipients, often referred to as DREAMers.
President Donald Trump is punting responsibility to Congress. In a statement, he said “the legislative branch, not the executive branch, writes these laws.”
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
Meanwhile, Congress already has a slew of crucial legislation that it needs to pass in September. By the end of the month, Congress needs to pass legislation that addresses government fiscal deadlines, natural disaster relief, and now presidential directives.
During a the White House press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was pressed by reporters who asked what gave Trump confidence that Congress will be able to act on immigration in time. “I think that every member of Congress should know that is their duty and we’re asking them to fulfill it — it’s pretty simple,” she replied. “I think that the American people elected them to do it and if they can’t, they should get out of the way and let somebody else take their job that can actually get something done.” See full exchange below:
The first big deadline: Sept. 30. If Congress does not act by then, a partial government shutdown is unavoidable. Congress will likely pass a six-month continuing resolution, which would fund the government at existing levels until December.
As Congress deliberates drafting on immigration within the coming months — a task it has been unable to do thus far — here’s a look at what the House and Senate is already tackling:
The debt ceiling
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asked congressional lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling by Sept. 29 to prevent the government from running out of money to pay its bills. Periodically, Congress has to raise the debt ceiling so that the federal government can pay its debts.
Hurricane Harvey funding
The National Flood Insurance Program’s authorization expires Sept. 30. This program helps homeowners in flood-prone areas pay for water damage. In addition to funding this program, House Republicans introduced a Hurricane Harvey relief bill Sunday that matches the White House’s $7.85 billion request for aid. Right now, NBC is reporting that the Senate will add the debt ceiling to the Harvey aid.
In most of the country, insurance companies must finalize their premiums for 2018 by Sept. 27. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold the first of four hearings Wednesday to begin outlining a stabilization game plan. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) laid out an ambitious timeline in an interview with Politico where he hopes to draft a bill by the third week of September in an effort to provide assurances to insurers who participate in the Obamacare marketplace.
Children’s Health Insurance Program funding
Congress needs to renew CHIP by Sept. 30. CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. The program has long had bipartisan support. If Congress misses the deadline, states wouldn’t immediately run out of money for the program. Thirty-one states and Washington D.C. would exhaust their funds by March 2018. All states would run out of federal CHIP funds by September 2018. The Senate Finance committee will hold a hearing to discuss the program Thursday.
Federal Aviation Administration funding
Additionally, the House and Senate need to renew the FAA by Sept. 30. Like CHIP, this seems noncontroversial. Congress would simply need to pass a continuation of an existing authorization. Without re-authorization, a partial shutdown of the FAA is inevitable. Four thousand FAA employees and 70,000 airport construction workers were furloughed the last time the FAA shutdown.
This is a self-imposed deadline set by Republicans. The party is hoping to pass major tax reform by the end of this year, meaning details should be ironed out and released by the end of the month. The President, desperate for a legislative win, promised Americans a major tax reform overhaul.