(CNSNews.com) - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Democrats "advanced the cause" of permanent legal status for "dreamers" by allowing government funding to lapse for almost three days.
He said Democrats cut the best deal they could -- a promise from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring a bipartisan bill on dreamers to the floor.
"So now we have a chance to get 60 votes for dreamers in the Senate," Schumer told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday night. And if that happens, it will put pressure the House, he predicted:
But if we pass it in the Senate with a bipartisan vote, we have a good chance to put pressure on the House to do it, particularly if they don't do it by March 5th, the awful, awful, awful pictures of DREAMers being deported, I think will rally the nation and the House will be forced to do it.
Schumer said the same thing a few minutes later:
But here is what we think. If the Senate passes the bill and it's bipartisan, there may be enough moderate and mainstream Republicans in the House, many of whom are vulnerable for reelection who will feel they have to come across, particularly if these sons of guns wait until after March 5th. And I think, God forbid, but the pictures of people being deported will rally the nation, and these more mainstream Republicans admittedly, not a majority of the Republican Party, but enough when they add them to Democrats could pass the bill.
And then you have the whimsical -- that's a kind word -- Donald Trump. He may wake up one morning and say, get this bill done.
We're still in play. We're in better shape than we were five days ago. You're right. Nothing happened for months because they control the agenda. And we've got to not lose the spirit or the fight. We can try and maybe even win. I'm not giving up. I hope you won't, Rachel.
Schumer, accused of caving in to Republicans by the liberal left, said if the shutdown continued, two things would happen:
"A, no one would budge. The public would lose support of the shutdown. The public does not like shutdowns, and we'd actually lose support for DREAMers, too, because people love the DREAMers but don't want the government shut down for it."
"So, we cut the best deal we could. And it's more than just a vague promise, Rachel. McConnell said on the floor, and I realize sometimes he's broken his word before, but he said on the floor we will definitely get a vote on February 8th of a bipartisan bill on DREAMers that has my OK. So, it will be a good bill."
Schumer said he met earlier Tuesday with dreamers and other pro-immigration groups, "and we all agreed we're going to focus our energy on fighting the fight we have now. Every Democrat, all 49, are for DREAMers. We have six or seven Republicans who are for them. So, if we get four or five more, we can get the vote in the Senate."
President Trump, meanwhile, is holding out for his long-promised wall:
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: "Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!"