Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she won't back a bill that allows the federal government to spend money unless Congress has a legislative fix to address the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children.
"I will not vote for an end-of-year spending bill until we are clear about what we are going to do to protect and take care of our DACA young people in this country," Harris said. "Each day in the life of these young people is a very long time, and we've got to stop playing politics with their lives."
President Trump announced in September that he was giving Congress until March before the program would shutter and recipients would begin losing work permits and protection from deportation. An estimated 200,000 of the nearly 800,000 recipients of the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals program live in California, giving the Golden State an outsized stake in resolving their legal status.
Harris spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday with other members of the California delegation to urge quick action on the issue.
"It is absolutely urgent that we pass the legislation," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said. "We are determined that the Dream Act will be the law of the land before the year is out."
Democrats and Republicans are negotiating the details of a fix, and when something could pass. Pelosi has hinted that if Republicans don't have the votes within their party to pass the end-of-year spending bill, which Congress has to pass to keep the government open, Democrats will offer their votes — for a price.