Trump pressures Pelosi, Democrats on DACA a week before next possible shutdown

  • President Trump tweets that Democrats should "work out a DACA fix, NOW!"
  • The tweet specifically called out House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
  • A potential deal to fix DACA and reform immigration policies faces a harder path to passage in the House than it does in the Senate.

President Donald Trump on Thursday broke a two-day tweetless streak in part by pressuring Democrats over negotiations to preserve a program that protects people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Trump, who ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, tweeted that Democrats "are doing nothing" about the program.

Trump's combative tweet came nearly two days after he sought bipartisan cooperation on immigration and other issues during his State of the Union address. It is also one week before the government is slated, yet again, to run out of funding.

Last month, the government shut down for three days before lawmakers reached a deal to extend funding. As part of the agreement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured Democrats there would be a debate on DACA before the Feb. 8 deadline.

Trump's tweet didn't mention the Feb. 8 deadline. Instead, it focused on the day DACA is slated to end for good, March 5. A federal judge, however, recently blocked the Trump administration from ending the program, which shields nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.

Trump has said he supports a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, a figure that includes DACA recipients and those who are eligible for the program but have not signed up for it. There's strong bipartisan support among lawmakers for preserving DACA, as well.

However, he has insisted on billions of dollars to fund a wall along the Mexican border, and immigration hardliners in the Republican Party have opposed or expressed skepticism about protecting DACA-eligible immigrants.

While any DACA fix is expected to have wide support among both caucuses in the Senate, its approval is more in doubt in the House, potentially setting up a headache for Speaker Paul Ryan. The so-called "Hastert rule" posits that a majority of the majority party should support a bill if it is to pass.

Signs of conservative opposition became more prevalent Thursday morning. Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said during a GOP policy retreat that a deal only focusing on border security and DACA is a nonstarter. Meadows said he supports a "four pillars" approach like what Trump proposed in his State of the Union – including a DACA fix, enhanced border security, scrapping a visa lottery system, and limiting family sponsorship and reunification, which is known derisively as "chain migration."

Trump's tweet Thursday, however, singled out House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic caucus to "work out a DACA fix, NOW!"

CNBC's Ylan Mui contributed to this report.

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