Senate Democrats widely seen as possible contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination voted against invoking cloture on a bill brokered by Democratic and Republican leadership that would end the government shutdown in exchange for assurances from Republicans that immigration issues would be tackled in the coming weeks.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) were among those who voted against the short-term fix on Monday afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the deal on Monday afternoon.
Harris said she did not trust McConnell’s commitment to Democrats that in exchange for a deal to end the shutdown the Senate would debate immigration issues, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump’s administration announced last year that it intended to terminate.
“Our government made a promise to our Dreamers and it is long past time that we kept that promise,” Harris said in a statement. “These are young people who are Americans in every respect except on paper. They have been waiting far too long to live securely in the only place they have ever called home.”
Harris later added: “I refuse to put the lives of nearly 700,000 young people in the hands of someone who has repeatedly gone back on his word.”
The no-votes also come with political implications moving forward.
Many liberal Democrats had hoped the government shutdown would force Republicans into making a deal for DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. With their “no” votes, possible candidates can take on questions about their stance on immigration, especially if Republicans back out of the offer.
By voting against the deal, all of the possible 2020 candidates can also appeal to the more progressive wing of the party, which came out in droves to support Sanders in the 2016 election. Uniting the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic party is seen as a key for anyone trying to unseat Trump in three years.
Meanwhile, Gillibrand said the vote on Monday “failed to protect” Dreamers.
“I am deeply disappointed that today’s outcome fails to protect Dreamers. They deserve better from the elected leaders of the only country many of them have ever called home,” she wrote in a series of tweets. “I want to see the government re-open as much as anyone, but this bill fails to fix the moral issue we must solve. That’s why I voted against it.”