Luis Gutierrez: We'll shut down the government in December until the DREAM Act passes

He’s always been crystal clear about his allegiances. In 2010 he famously told Newsweek, “I have only one loyalty, and that’s to the immigrant community.” Watch his floor speech from yesterday below and you’ll find him celebrating DREAMers for having one loyalty as well, to the United States. If that’s true, they’re doing a better job with their priorities than he is.

Gutierrez is prepared to go to the mat for legalization this December by using the impending fiscal cliff as leverage. Are Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi?

In an emotional press conference with progressive and immigrant activists, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Democratic House leaders have told him they will support stopping the government to protect 800,000 people whose status has been in limbo since the Trump administration announced it will suspend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in six months.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was not immediately available for comment. Gutierrez said the “vast majority” of Democrats in the House would support the Dream Act or shutdown approach.

“If there is no pathway forward [for Dreamers] … then there is no government for anyone,” Gutierrez said, speaking through tears. “We will shut it down.”…

“They came after the Muslims, and the government continued to operate. They came after transgender [people], and the government continued to operate,” Gutierrez said. “Now they’re coming after the Dreamers — we’re simply saying, you’re not gonna cross this line.”

Raul Grijalva, head of the House Progressive Caucus, claims that a heavy majority of members are prepared to go along with Gutierrez. There are 75 members of the caucus, making this a big problem for Pelosi and Schumer and, eventually, for Paul Ryan and Trump if Grijalva’s telling the truth about their commitment to driving a hard bargain on DREAM. Ryan could always pass a bill that raises the debt ceiling and funds the government in December on a party-line vote, without any DREAM Act attached, but that would mean the bill would need to satisfy conservatives in the Freedom Caucus, and in order to do that it would require steep spending cuts that probably would make it a non-starter for Senate Democrats. Ryan could try to thread the needle by passing a centrist bill opposed by both the Freedom Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, but Pelosi will come under intense pressure from Gutierrez and the left not to sign on to anything that doesn’t have a DREAM amnesty attached. Would she agree to that, knowing that a Democrat-led shutdown — or technical default — might result? Americans don’t like shutdowns and they really don’t like defaults. Engineering one to benefit people who aren’t even citizens might not play well politically.

And what about Schumer? He promised the other day that Democrats would look to attach a DREAM bill to other bills this fall but he pointedly didn’t say which bills. He *implied* he’d be willing to shut down the government to make it happen but didn’t specifically say so, to leave himself some wiggle room. Schumer will come under the same pressure as Pelosi from the left to stand firmly on DREAM, but unlike Pelosi he won’t have the excuse that he’s ultimately at the mercy of a Republican majority. He’ll have the filibuster; by enforcing party discipline, he can theoretically hold out for whatever concessions he likes. If he refuses and allows a fiscal-cliff bill to pass without DREAM, Gutierrez and other amnesty shills will demand to know why. What will Schumer’s excuse be after Trump just handed him a bunch of leverage by agreeing to a short-term debt ceiling increase?

The obvious solution for Schumer and Pelosi is to try to get DREAM done sooner, as part of a separate immigration deal apart from the December fiscal-cliff clusterfark. Judging by their discussion on Wednesday about repealing the debt ceiling altogether, he and Trump are already thinking of ways to defuse the legislative bomb that’s set to go off at the end of the year. If they can get the debt ceiling repealed and can get some sort of mini-comprehensive immigration bill done, then they’ll have a straightforward bargain over funding the government in December. Failing that, Schumer could try to force a standoff over the DREAM Act much sooner than December by, say, refusing to proceed on tax legislation unless DREAM is attached. Again the goal would be to separate the DREAM fight from the fiscal cliff so that Gutierrez doesn’t maneuver Democratic leaders into *having* to shut down the government or risk a default in the name of proving their open-borders bona fides.

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