Newstalk
Newstalk

16.06 8 Feb 2018


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The Democratic leader in the US House of Representatives has broken records with an eight-hour speech on the House floor.

Nancy Pelosi stood from 10am into the evening without a break, calling for legislation to protect undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children.

It came as Senate Democrat and Republican leaders agreed a long-term spending plan, following weeks of budgetary uncertainty.

It includes measures such as raised caps on military spending and extra funds for disaster relief in areas hit by hurricanes & wildfires.

The deal, if passed by Congress, would bring an end to months of political turmoil that has already led to one temporary government shutdown.

Lawmakers have until midnight tonight local time to pass the bill and avert another shutdown.

However, the spending bill does not guarantee protections for young undocumented immigrants known as 'Dreamers' - an issue that has been a key priority for many Democratic politicians and their supporters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised the upcoming debate over new immigration legislation "will be fair to all sides".

"This package does not have my support"

However, Mrs Pelosi spoke out about the deal, and called for further commitments on Dreamers.

In a statement, she said: "This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House.

"Without a commitment from [House Speaker Paul Ryan] comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support."

To show her commitment to the Dreamers issue, Mrs Pelosi yesterday took to the House floor using a rule that allows party leaders to speak for as long as they can.

The Washington Post reports that the 77-year-old Democrat stood for more than eight hours - describing the personal experiences of Dreamers and quoting various Bible verses.

Historians suggested the speech was the longest in the House in at least a century and possibly ever.

Taking to Twitter after the speech, she thanked members of the public for the support - and again called for legislation to protecter Dreamers.


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