Congress faces a deadline Friday to pass a budget or a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. Iowa’s senior senator says multiple issues are caught up in the current impasse.
One of those is the status of young adults living under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Republican Chuck Grassley says he supports “legalizing” immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, if that’s paired with other restrictions on immigration.
“For humanitarian reasons, we gotta do legalization for that group of people,” Grassley says. “Connect it with border security, connect it with ending chain migration, and doing away with diversity visas seems to be a narrowing of the issue considerably.”
Some say disparaging comments reportedly made by President Trump about certain countries will derail bipartisan immigration talks. Grassley says a deal can move forward if people stop talking about those comments and instead focus on policy.
These negotiations are central to Republicans finding some Democratic support in their effort to pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.
The lack of a federal budget is also affecting lawmakers’ ability push other policy priorities, Grassley says.
A report released last week from the president’s rural task force identified broadband as a priority and Grassley says there are several possible funding sources to bring high speed internet to the areas where it is still unavailable.
“Traditionally, there’s always been some money in the farm bill,” he says. “There’s always been some money through the fees that FCC collects and then, thirdly, broadband is very much a part of the issue that comes up whenever we talk about infrastructure and I expect by March that infrastructure’s going to be a big issue.”
But for now, Grassley says members of Congress are somewhat frustrated by the lack of a federal budget, forcing them to begin farm bill and other policy debates before they know how much they have to spend.