House Speaker Paul Ryan warned on Wednesday against "playing political games" as Democrats threatened to block a last-ditch spending deal this week if they can not also pass a plan to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
In their deliberations, congressional Democrats make clear they don't want to be blamed for shutting down the government.
Sen. Dick Durbin of IL, the Senate's Democratic whip, who's taken the lead on immigration negotiations for his party in the chamber, was asked Tuesday afternoon if he could support a short-term spending bill that did not include a plan to protect recipients of the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
He added that a deal to lift spending caps with Democrats is "very, very close", but said that Democrats are "holding out" on the agreement because of the immigration talks. Democrats, meanwhile, say the burden is on Trump to move the negotiations forward after he shot down the bipartisan immigration proposal last week.
Ryan also said he wants to reach a compromise on immigration but won't bring such a measure to the House floor unless President Donald Trump supports it.
"I think there are enough Senate Democrats like me that want to pressure but avoid a shutdown", he added.
Another Democratic Senator from a Trump-friendly state, Joe Donnelly, of IN, said he is "still looking at the process" for the continuing resolution that will need to pass both chamber this week.
Pressure from immigration activists and increased public scrutiny could make it hard for Democrats to support a CR without a DACA replacement this time.
But White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly said in a Fox News interview Wednesday evening that it looked like leaders would be able to avert a shutdown. He said an "overwhelming number" of Democratic senators do not support it.
"We're all highly motivated by the fact that come March the 5th, this program will no longer be available, and all of the work permits that now exist for the 690,000 DACA recipients will go away", said Mr. Cornyn.
Last week, the president suggested that he would sign a bipartisan bill to solve the current DACA crisis and include immigration reform provisions. "I urge my Democratic friends to honor their stated commitments and join in a bipartisan effort to keep the government funded and reauthorize S-CHIP for struggling families across America". If House Republicans can't get their own spending bill across the finish line, a whole new world of negotiating possibilities could open up. "And if there is a danger that they're not going to get paid but still have to do the work, that will put a political price on the Democrats".
"Anything that gets stopped in the Senate, there is more of an argument that it's the Democrats stopping it than if we stop it in the House where it's more of an argument that the Republicans did it", he said.
The talks have been complicated by the firestorm over the reported vulgar remarks made by Trump at Thursday's meeting with lawmakers to discuss DACA. Lindsey Graham of SC, indicated he would vote against the bill. States have been limping along on unused funds and prior short-term fixes.
House Speaker Paul Ryan criticised Democrats for using Daca as leverage for helping pass a government funding measure. "But we're not going to be held hostage to do things that we think are going to be contrary to the best interests of the American people".
If a temporary "continuing resolution" to keep the government operating results, it would be the fourth such measure since the 2018 federal fiscal year began on October 1, a sign of Washington's serious struggles to pass spending legislation.