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 TrumpSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Seth McFarlane: Fox News makes me 'embarrassed' to work for this company  'Art of the Deal' co-author: Trump would act like Kim Jong Un if he had the same powers MORE and the White House. 
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump’s danger on North Korea? Raised expectations Graham: If you don't like me working with Trump, 'I don't give a s--t' Dems seek to leverage ObamaCare fight for midterms MORE's (R-S.C.) office announced that GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Ernst, Fischer to square off for leadership post Democrats seize on DOJ's ObamaCare decision ahead of midterms MORE (Maine), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderIBM-led coalition pushes senators for action on better tech skills training Dems seek to leverage ObamaCare fight for midterms GOP senator: DOJ's ObamaCare argument 'as far-fetched as any I've ever heard' MORE (Tenn.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release Senate committee targets Pruitt scandals in spending bill GOP chairman seeks ‘sufficient’ funding for EPA watchdog office MORE (Alaska) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsTrump, senators headed for clash on cyber policy GOP support growing for anti-Trump trade bill Overnight Defense: Trump decision on Korea summit coming 'next week' | China disinvited from major naval exercise | Senate sends VA reform bill to Trump 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 FlakeHillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase Senators press Amazon for answers on improper Echo recording incident Loyalty to Donald Trump is new normal for the Republican Party MORE (Ariz.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSessions floats federal law that would protect states that decriminalize marijuana RNC mum on whether it will support Trump-backed Corey Stewart Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems see midterm advantage in new ObamaCare fight 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 McConnellCongress had a good couple of weeks — now let's keep it going McCarthy: 'The Mueller investigation has got to stop' McConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' 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 DurbinHugh Hewitt to Trump: 'It is 100 percent wrong to separate border-crossing families' Opioid treatment plans must include a trauma-informed approach Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems want answers on DOJ ObamaCare decision MORE (Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo MORE (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Finance: Trump wants Russia back in G-7 | Senators, allies push back | House approves first fiscal 2019 spending bills | Dems want insider trading probe over job tweet Dems want insider trading probe after Trump jobs report tweet Clinton on his reading habits: 'I like a fast ride' 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: Net neutrality ends | What repeal means and what's next | Treasury sanctions Russian firms for aiding cyberattacks | How trolling became diplomacy's new trend | Feds crack down on email scams | Defense bill cyber update This week: Congress faces what could be biggest news week of 2018 Hillicon Valley: Mueller hits Manafort with more charges | DOJ targets NYT reporter in leak probe | Chinese hacker steals sensitive data from Navy contractor | House votes against reviving tech office MORE (Okla.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisCongress must confront sexual abuse of military children With caveats, Republicans praise Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un McConnell: Any North Korea deal should be submitted to Congress 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 GrassleyPruitt’s new problem with the GOP: Ethanol Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems see midterm advantage in new ObamaCare fight Senate Judiciary urges response to sexual harassment in federal courts MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonWhite House warns Congress against trying to block ZTE deal With caveats, Republicans praise Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un GOP senator: Trump sitting down with Kim not ‘pretty’ but ‘necessary’ to stop nuclear threat 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 CornynMcConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' Senate rejects effort to boost Congress's national security oversight Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult 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 HoyerPelosi, Dems hammer GOP for ‘derailing’ DACA debate Hoyer warns GOP: Don’t dabble with DACA compromise bill Dem House candidate gets pepper sprayed in the face in campaign ad MORE (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase McCarthy: 'The Mueller investigation has got to stop' McConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' 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.