WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Senate deal to reopen the government:
“This is a temporary salve, not one that anyone likes but necessary under the circumstances. Democrats have been fighting for the Children’s Health Insurance Program; real relief to communities ravaged by hurricanes, fires and the opioid epidemic; funding for the military and domestic programs that help people, educate our youth, keep us safe and grow our economy; protecting and strengthening pensions; and averting the deportation of 800,000 Dreamers—young immigrants who were brought to America as children, many of whom now teach, serve and protect our communities.
“The Trump shutdown was completely avoidable if President Trump and Republican leaders had been willing to negotiate in good faith. But far from being a leader or the dealmaker he makes himself out to be, Trump’s erratic behavior, and his deference to his staffers and right-wing ideologues like Gen. John Kelly and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, created chaos and caused this shutdown.
“As to the Dreamers, we have a moral obligation to avert their deportation. The clock is ticking. Already, 16,000 Dreamers have lost their protections and are at risk of deportation. The AFT will continue to do everything in our power, including engaging in civil disobedience, to protect Dreamers. But it’s up to the Congress and the president to pass and sign a bill now, since it was the president who ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in September.
“Now that Sen. Mitch McConnell has agreed to a vote, we ask the 34 House Republicans who say they support a permanent solution for Dreamers to get House Speaker Paul Ryan to do the same. The votes are there in both the House and the Senate for a DACA fix, and now is the time for the Republican leadership that controls Congress to allow a vote.”