National Press Club

California AG: Republicans will have full responsibility for any government shutdown

December 7, 2017 | By Chris Teale |

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) warned that congressional Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves if the federal government shuts down later this week.

At a Wednesday Newsmaker press conference at the National Press Club, Becerra, who was appointed attorney general earlier this year, said it is up to Republicans to govern effectively given they have full control of Congress.

President Donald Trump has previously suggested that Democrats would be at fault for a shutdown as they want to legislation to protect undocumented immigrants shielded under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A shutdown could happen as early as this Friday if a spending bill does not pass, and Becerra said Republicans will shoulder the blame.

“A government shutdown: that’s in the hands of the Republican majority in Congress, the House and Senate,” he said. “Let no one else take responsibility. Just as if you’re a parent, your kids don’t make decisions on who goes to school one day, who goes another. It’s the parents. Don’t shift the responsibility where it doesn’t lie.”

Since being appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in January to replace Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Becerra has sued the federal government around two dozen times, challenging changes to immigration, environmental and consumer protections policy among others.

Becerra said that he does so to understand why the Trump administration makes the decisions it makes, and to shine a light on what he said is a lack of transparency.

“What is this administration trying to hide, when it doesn’t want to reveal to us the basis for its decision to try to deny 200,000 DACA dreamers in California the chance to remain, or the 800,000 DACA Dreamers throughout the country the chance to remain?” he asked. “We’ve not been able to get them to provide us with a document that proves the basis for their actions to repeal the DACA program.”

And Becerra defended his right to continue suing the federal government on behalf of California, despite criticism from some quarters that he does so for purely ideological reasons.

“When we go out and assert our right as a state under the Constitution and the 10th Amendment to proceed in a forward-leaning manner, it is because we intend to be inclusive in the way we conduct our affairs,” he said.

One area where Becerra has been vocally opposed to Trump has been immigration, and the rescindment of the DACA program that protects from deportation illegal immigrants brought here as children.

Without immigration and the hard work of immigrant families, Becerra said California would not have grown so rapidly into a state that leads the way in areas like manufacturing, technology and entertainment

“California didn’t become the sixth largest economy in the world because it just sat around waiting,” he said. “California has the largest number of immigrant families in the country, and each and every one of those families has contributed to making California the high potent economy that drives the American economy. … Immigrants have proven a lifeblood to the American economy and the California economy.”