Graham calls Tom Cotton ‘the Steve King of the Senate'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamQuestions mount over Trump-Putin discussions The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Overnight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria MORE (R-S.C.) said Friday that Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Hillicon Valley: DOJ appeals AT&T-Time Warner ruling | FBI agent testifies in heated hearing | Uproar after FCC changes rules on consumer complaints | Broadcom makes bid for another US company | Facebook under fire over conspiracy sites MORE (R-Ark.) has become "sort of the Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingHillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback Sparks fly at hearing on anti-conservative bias in tech The farm bill fails animals in need MORE of the Senate," a reference to one of the House's most ardent immigration hard-liners.

In an interview with MSNBC, Graham, who has advocated for legislative protections for young immigrants, rejected the notion of ending family-based immigration in exchange for enshrining the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into law.

A proposal by Cotton and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) seeks to end so-called chain migration, which allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor family members abroad to come to the U.S.

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"All I can say is we're not going to end family immigration for DACA," Graham said. "The Tom Cotton approach has no viability here. You know, he's become sort of the Steve King of the Senate."

"I like Tom, but on immigration, he's putting something on the table that there's just no market for in Phase 1," he added.

King, an Iowa Republican, has been a vocal advocate for curbing immigration and ending DACA, an Obama-era program rescinded by Trump last fall. 

Graham's comments came as lawmakers barrel toward a government shutdown amid a struggle to reach an agreement on a spending measure to keep the government running past Friday.

Democrats have insisted that any spending measure must include protections for DACA recipients, while some Republicans have called to address legal protections for the young immigrants, known as Dreamers, at a later date.