With hours to go to pass a spending measure to keep the government from shutting down, US lawmakers continue to remain at odds over key issues. While the US House passed a one month funding measure with a six-year CHIP extension Thursday night, it's unclear how the bill will do in the Senate.
According to reports, some lawmakers are willing to pass a short-term spending bill, but others are adamant about said measure including an immigration deal regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In order to keep the government open and ready for business, a funding bill must be passed prior to the Friday midnight deadline. If not, say goodbye to the Panda Cam at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.
But if officials don't want to take note of the human cost that a no-DACA deal would cause, they should realize that the impacts would also fall on the US economy, says Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Wilkes told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that if people protected under the DACA program are deported, "it will dramatically impact our economy in a negative way."
"Beyond just a human cost, it hurts us economically to do this," Wilkes said. "These students are exceptional individuals, they've done nothing wrong, they were brought by their parents to the United States when they were minors and so they really haven't broken any laws."
Despite US President Donald Trump's continued seesawing on the matter, Wilkes says it is possible to pin 45 down on what he really wants as policy, even though it seems difficult.
"There is a pathway to get President Trump to sign a Dream Act that includes some of his enforcement priorities — that's why there is a bipartisan bill in both the House and the Senate," Wilkes told Kiriakou. "It is hard to pin him down…which is very frustrating and difficult to move forward… one minute you think you got a deal… and then the next minute he talks to a hardliner in Congress… and comes back and says the deal isn't good enough."
However, if things do go into the dumps and a government shutdown takes place, you can expect Americans will be pointing their fingers at POTUS, Wilkes noted.
"I think that the public… would pin this on Donald Trump if the government were to shut down and it's basically because… he's been so difficult to negotiate with," the executive director said. "Here's the guy who gets elected saying that he's the best negotiator in the world and yet he doesn't seem to be able to stick to his negotiating points."
"He'd do himself a huge favor if he just agreed to the bipartisan deal and gave up this idea that being the biggest anti-immigrant in the room is playing to his base and realized that it's time to step up and be the leader of this country," he added.
The deal that the White House isn't on board with would appropriate $2.705 billion in border security enhancements and would pave the way to citizenship for immigrants protected under the DACA program.