From the White House a direct message is being sent to sanctuary cities: you cannot hide illegal immigrants. This has manifested in the form of an attempt to block liberal cities from receiving federal funds if they ignore immigration guidance would similarly cause Democrats to flee. The budget bill will need Democratic votes to pass — at least eight in the Senate, but probably in the House as well.
“It would blow up any chance of a bipartisan deal. Getting wall money is hard enough, and you get a guy pushing new riders out of nowhere,” said a Republican congressional aide. “I don’t see how catering to the Freedom Caucus votes help on [the] spending bill.”
The White House referred questions on the matter to the OMB. An agency spokesman declined to comment.
“There are no negotiations — I met with Mulvaney once,” Schumer said. “We hope our Republican colleagues won’t insist on things that will cause a government shutdown, but talks are going pretty well right now.”
Indeed, Schumer and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been making significant progress that could be derailed by Mulvaney’s move. McConnell said in an interview on Friday that he had a “cordial” meeting with Schumer last week about avoiding a shutdown. Both McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have vowed there will be no shutdown.
“Most things in the Senate do require 60 votes. Democrats are not irrelevant. The first big test of that will be the funding bill when we get back,” McConnell said.
In the House, a GOP leadership source said the sanctuary cities restriction would repel Democrats and force Ryan to rely on House Freedom Caucus members to pass a funding bill.
“Of course, that’s a nonstarter,” Matt Dennis, a spokesman for House Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), said of the sanctuary cities idea.