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Trump blasts Democrats in advance of immigration meeting

 (Brendan Smialowski / Agence-France Presse)
(Brendan Smialowski / Agence-France Presse)

The day before a meeting of administration officials and congressional leaders on outstanding legislative business, President Trump accused Democrats of “doing nothing” to hammer out an immigration deal to protect from deportation people brought to the country illegally as children.

“Democrats are doing nothing for DACA — just interested in politics,” Trump wrote in a Tweet on Tuesday morning, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by its acronym.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer along with the Republican leaders, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are scheduled to meet on Wednesday at the Capitol with Trump’s legislative director, Marc Short, and budget director, Mick Mulvaney.

The White House on Tuesday said the meeting is to discuss separate spending caps on military and domestic programs. Yet the Democrats insist the discussion also must include a variety of legislative issues that Trump and Congress punted into the new year — on immigration, the budget, healthcare and more.

That stance reflects Democrats’ leverage: Republicans need Democratic votes to pass a government-funding bill and avert a federal shutdown when the current funding expires Jan. 19. Democrats especially want separate legislation replacing the Obama-era DACA program; Trump in September ordered a phase-out of the program, beginning March 6, and called on Congress to act before then on an alternative way to address the plight of the group.

However, Trump has demanded that any alternative must be part of a package including both money for a border wall and immigration limits. Democrats are opposed.

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