By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, announced his support of a long-term funding plan on Wednesday after some in his party announced their opposition to the plan proposed by Senate leadership.
Jones, in a statement from his press office, said his decision comes after considering the health care aspects of the plan.
Specifically, Jones mentioned CHIP, which provides thousands of Alabama’s children health care, and funding for community health care centers. Jones announced his support of long-term funding for the centers Monday, citing their economic and health impact.
“This is a big step in the right direction,” Jones said of the agreement. “I encourage my colleagues in the House to support this robust bipartisan bill so we can get back to working on the many other important policy challenges we face.”
Long-term funding for the federal government has not yet been passed as Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree over issues like immigration. The main argument has been over the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, which President Donald Trump ended last year.
The program allowed for the legal protection of minors who were brought illegally to the United States by their parents. DACA came into existence with an Obama-era executive order after Congress failed to act on the DREAM Act.
Since the Trump administration’s decision to discontinue the program, Democrats in Congress have used delay tactics in Congress to stall the budget’s passage until funding for DACA recipients can be established.
The latest delay tactic by Democrats happened Wednesday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, spoke on the floor for 8 hours. It is the longest speech on the House floor. In the speech, Pelosi lashed out against Republicans for their “moral cowardice” regarding the DACA situation.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced a compromise but lamented Trump’s comments that he would “love a shutdown” over immigration.
“We have reached a budget deal that neither side loves but both sides can be proud of,” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “That’s compromise. That’s governing. We should do more of it.”
Jones’ voting record while in the Senate has surprised some of his supporters and detractors as he balances being a Democrat from a deep red state with his more liberal positions, such as his support of DACA recipients.
The balancing act has been noted by the Alabama Republican Party who remind Jones periodically of the make up of the electorate in his home state.
Jones, once a long shot, defeated Republican Roy Moore in a nail-biting Senate election in December. Alabama’s newest senator took office at the beginning of the year and will remain there until 2020.