California Democrats and Republicans point fingers as government nears shutdown

As the federal government veered toward a shutdown on Friday afternoon, California Republicans and Democrats in Congress pointed fingers over who was to blame.

Both sides say they don’t want a shutdown. But many Democrats, under intense political pressure from their liberal base, have refused to back any funding measure that doesn’t include protections for young undocumented immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. The more than 800,000 immigrants, known as Dreamers, could face deportation later this year after President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama administration program.

While the House of Representatives approved a month-long continuing resolution on Thursday, keeping the government open for 30 days and providing six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, it’s not clear whether the Senate, which is expected to vote this afternoon, will be able to come to a deal.

The House bill passed on an almost party-line vote, with all California Republicans backing it and all California Democrats except Reps. Jim Costa and Salud Carbajal opposed.

In the Senate, Sen. Kamala Harris has said she will not vote for any Continuing Resolution that doesn’t help the Dreamers. Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has waffled on the issue. Her office put out a statement declaring that she would vote against any continuing resolution that didn’t include protection for Dreamers. “I said in December that I wouldn’t vote for a (Continuing Resolution) without the Dream Act, and I won’t do so now,” the statement read.

But later that afternoon, she told reporters she didn’t know how she would vote, seemingly unaware the statement had been released.

“Shutting down the government is a very serious thing,” Feinstein said. “People die, accidents happen. You don’t know. Necessary functions can cease.”

Neither side appears likely to skate by without political damage if a shutdown does occur. A

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

Supreme Court to rule on Trump travel ban

By Mark Sherman | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide the legality of the latest version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

The issue pits an administration that considers the restrictions necessary for Americans’ security against challengers who claim it is illegally aimed at Muslims and stems from Trump’s campaign call for a “complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the U.S.

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The justices plan to hear argument in April and issue a final ruling by late June on a Trump policy that has been repeatedly blocked and struck down in the lower courts.

The latest of those rulings came last month when the federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the travel ban Trump announced in September violates federal immigration law.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, also is considering a challenge to the ban.

Last month, the high court said the ban could be fully enforced while appeals made their way through the courts.

The policy applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries: blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether any of the three versions of the travel ban is legal. The court agreed last June to take up the second version until it expired in the early fall.

Trump’s first travel ban was issued almost a year ago, almost immediately after he took office, and was aimed at seven countries. It triggered chaos and protests across the U.S. as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

10 things to know if there’s a federal government shutdown

With lawmakers in the nation’s capital at odds over immigration and digging in their heels, hopes were fading Friday morning about a possible funding agreement that could avert a government shutdown that would begin at 9 p.m. California time.

So what will happen if there’s no deal to authorize government funding and Uncle Sam’s ATM card gets yanked? Do Social Security checks get issued and does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keep tracking the flu? Read on.

Q Does the government really shut down in a shutdown?

A Yes, and no. Most of the highest-profile federal programs that people regularly interact with and rely on continue operating, either because they do not require annual funding appropriations from Congress or because they are deemed essential services that cannot be suspended. But there are notable exceptions, such as national parks. And hundreds of thousands of federal workers would begin to be furloughed until a funding agreement is reached with no guarantee of restoring their lost pay.

Q OK, so what shuts down?

A National parks and monuments and federally run museums like the Smithsonian. Yes, even the Smithsonian’s National Zoo popular giant panda camera went dark the last time the federal government shut down almost five years ago. Among the national parks in California that would be affected are Yosemite, Sequoia, Pinnacles, Redwood, Joshua Tree, Mojave, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes Muir Woods, the Presidio, Fort Point and Alcatraz.

The Bay Area’s national laboratories — Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Lawrence Berkeley and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory — could see workers furloughed with no promise of having their pay restored.

The last shutdown idled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s disease monitoring program, which would be bad timing as the country is in the grips of a severe …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

What will it take to get a DACA deal?

As the nation’s capital devolves into partisan brinkmanship over legal protections for certain young, undocumented immigrants known as “DREAMers,” it’s hard to tell who’s on what side, who said what, who’s lying, and who’s on first.

Democrats and Republicans trash each other, then team up, then retreat to their corners. The president continues to deny he’s a racist. And the government teeters on the edge of a shutdown that could start as early as midnight if Congress fails to act. The center of the fight has now passed from the House, which has passed a one-month government funding bill to keep the lights on, to the Senate, which may or may not do the same by the end of today.

And squarely at the center of the heated negotiations is the now-threatened Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, that gives legal status to thousands of immigrants brought to this country when they were young. As a story on Vox put it, “all of a sudden, Senate Democrats are looking ready to shut down the government over immigration. After months of fruitless negotiations over helping to get legal status for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — something President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have both claimed to want — they seem to have had enough.”

Here’s the latest in the battle over DACA, how it might impact the looming government shutdown, and where the possible paths of compromise among lawmakers may lead going forward:

The Ball is in the Senate’s Court

House GOP leaders are giving their rank-and-file members the green light to leave Washington Friday after the last vote series of the week set for later this morning, sources tell The Hill. That means that House members will be long gone when …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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