House Speaker Paul D. Ryan did not have enough votes for passage from his GOP majority, as conservatives, including the Freedom Caucus, rejected the deficit spending, leaving him dependent on dozens of Democrats for support.
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was urging her caucus to withhold support unless the speaker more fully committed to considering bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
"Ryan needs to make a commitment," said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) leaving a caucus meeting before the vote. "Leadership wants a budget deal, but we also want a commitment."
The Dreamers include nearly 700,000 immigrants who are now working and living here as young adults with temporary permits issued under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump is ending the program.
Ryan had insisted that immigration legislation would be the "next big priority," but the speaker has also said he is waiting for Trump's sign-off on any bill, leaving Democrats doubtful he would consider a bipartisan effort. They want him to commit, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did, to a free-wheeling debate.
As part of the budget deal, Congress passed the fifth -- and many lawmakers hope, final -- stopgap bill to fund the government at current levels through March 23. After that, Congress will need to pass another funding bill, at the new spending levels, to prevent a shutdown and keep the government running.
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