Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters

A bipartisan immigration agreement is picking up the support of several additional GOP senators despite opposition from President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE and the White House. 
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhite House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report Graham: DOJ official was 'unethical' in investigating Trump campaign because his wife worked for Fusion GPS Sunday shows preview: Virginia lawmakers talk Charlottesville, anniversary protests MORE's (R-S.C.) office announced that GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBudowsky: Collins, Murkowski and Kavanaugh Senate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing NRA will spend M to support Kavanaugh for Supreme Court: report MORE (Maine), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (Tenn.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBudowsky: Collins, Murkowski and Kavanaugh Alaska fishermen worry Trump tariffs will be ‘devastating’ to seafood industry Senate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing MORE (Alaska) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsTougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans EPA’s Wheeler gets warmer welcome at Senate hearing Tenn. Republicans to go on offense against Dem MORE (S.D.) are signing onto the forthcoming legislation. 
 
That brings the total number of Republican lawmakers officially backing the bill up to seven, including Graham and GOP Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senator: Republicans should not be 'okay' with Trump calling Omarosa a dog Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report Arpaio says he misheard Sacha Baron Cohen questions MORE (Ariz.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job Rubio slams Google over plans to unveil censored Chinese search engine MORE (Colo.)—who were part of the original "Gang of Six." 
 
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“I’m very pleased that our bipartisan proposal continues to gain support among my Republican colleagues. Our hope is to bring forward a proposal that leads to a solution the president can embrace," Graham said in a statement. 
 
But the legislation faces an uphill climb in the Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHill.TV poll: Majority of Republicans say Trump best represents the values of the GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report Republican strategist: Trump is 'driven by ego' MORE (R-Ky.) has conditioned an immigration deal getting a floor vote on Trump supporting it. 
 
“I'm looking for something that President Trump supports, and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” McConnell told reporters Wednesday. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.”
 
Trump has lambasted the Senate group's bill, which is expected to be formally announced this week. 
 
He told Reuters on Wednesday that the proposal is “horrible” on border security and “very, very weak” on reforms to the legal immigration system.
 
In addition to Trump's support, any Senate bill will likely need 60 votes to end a filibuster. 
 
If Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems seize on Kavanaugh emails to question role in terrorism response Trump gives thumbs up to prison sentencing reform bill at pivotal meeting Overnight Defense: Officials make show of force on election security | Dems want probe into Air Force One tours | Pentagon believes Korean War remains 'consistent' with Americans MORE (Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap Administration should use its leverage to get Egypt to improve its human rights record MORE (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetWhen it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job NFL player wears 'Immigrants made America great' hat mocking Trump US farmers shouldn't be collateral damage in free-traders' crusade MORE (Colo.)—the other members of the "Gang of Six"—can win over every member of the 49-member caucus that means they will need the support from a total of 11 GOP senators. 

The uptick in support was immediately met by backlash from a coalition of GOP senators who have offered their own proposals.  

"As we have said from the beginning, any successful deal also needs buy-in from the White House. Unfortunately, the ‘Gang of Six’ proposal falls short since it fails to include even basic border security reforms," GOP Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down House Intel lawmakers introduce bipartisan election security bill Trump officials look to neutralize cyber threats in supply chain MORE (Okla.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOrrin Hatch: Partisanship over Kavanaugh nomination 'dumbass' Kavanaugh tells senators Mueller’s appointment was appropriate: report Senators restart talks to fix family separations MORE (N.C.) said in a joint statement. 
 
The two GOP senators added that "we still believe that we’re closer to a deal than we’ve ever been, and we are ready to work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to get this done." 

The two senators have offered their own bill that included a path to citizenship, but was meant to be paired with a border security plan. 

GOP Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Lawsuit challenges Arkansas Medicaid work requirements | CVS program targets high-cost drugs | Google parent invests in ObamaCare startup Oscar Archivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Kavanaugh recommended against Clinton indictment in 1998: report MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonRubio slams Google over plans to unveil censored Chinese search engine Bipartisanship alive and well, protecting critical infrastructure Exclusive: Bannon blasts 'con artist' Kochs, 'lame duck' Ryan, 'diminished' Kelly MORE (Ark.) said the "Gang of Six" bill "would do nothing to solve the underlying problem in our current immigration system." 

"It’s inconceivable that anyone would shut down the government over this plan. It’s time to come back to the negotiating table and focus on getting a serious solution to the DACA situation that protects all Americans and our national security," they said. 

Cotton and Perdue were part of a White House immigration meeting last week when Trump reportedly referred to several developing countries as "shitholes," though the president and the two GOP senators have accused Durbin of misrepresenting the meeting. 

And two of the four GOP senators who are signing on are also making it clear that they are open to other immigration proposals. Congressional leadership continues to hold separate negotiations. 

Alexander added on Wednesday that Graham's proposal is a "starting point for reaching consensus and will support other responsible proposals.”

Rounds echoed that, calling the Graham-Durbin proposal an "important first step." 
 
"While this bill is not perfect, I will continue to work on a product that includes appropriate e-verify provisions, a stronger border security system and lays the framework for more reform, including work visas. These are the provisions required for me to support the bill in final form so we can get to the next phase," he said. 
 
The Trump administration announced last year that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, kicking the fight to Congress. 

Democrats are demanding that a short-term funding bill that needs to be passed this week to prevent a shutdown include an immigration fix. 

Durbin on Wednesday appeared optimistic that every Democrat will ultimately support his legislation, despite pushback from progressives who feel like the deal goes too far. 
 
Durbin implied during a floor speech on Wednesday evening that he has been able to win over the 49-member Democratic caucus—which includes a coalition of vulnerable red state members as well as progressives and 2020 White House hopefuls. 
 
"We have 56 senators ready to move forward with this issue," he said from the Senate floor. 
 
The bill would pair a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that includes a pathway to citizenship, which the Trump administration announced it was ending last year, with a border security package, an elimination of the Diversity Visa Lottery and changes to family-based immigration. 
 
According to a fact sheet on the forthcoming legislation, it would include more than $2.7 billion on border security and reallocate half of the diverse lottery visages to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. It would give half to individuals from underrepresented "priority countries." 

But Republicans argue that they have until March 5 to come up with a fix, and potentially longer after a court ordered the Trump administration to keep the program in place while litigation plays out. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynIt’s possible to protect national security without jeopardizing the economy Archivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Senate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, reiterated on Wednesday that the Graham-Durbin bill will not be the "template" for a final deal. 
 
"The longer we keep kicking that dead horse the longer we're ... going to delay getting to a real solution," he told reporters. 
 
Cornyn, Durbin and Reps. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerElection analyst predicts 'impeachment hearings will happen' if Dems take Congress Michigan lawmaker wants seat for Midwest at Dem leadership table Dems introduce measure to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act MORE (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans have spent .5 million at Trump properties since he took office: report Trump ally suspends reelection campaign Dems seek GOP wipeout in California MORE (R-Calif.) met with White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE on Wednesday. The four lawmakers are expected to meet again on Thursday.
 
 
 
-Updated 7:22 p.m.