What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes

The Senate is barreling toward a showdown on the floor over immigration, with both sides digging in as they hunt for 60 votes.

The battle could come to a head as soon as Thursday, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer Charles Krauthammer dies at the age of 68 Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos MORE (R-Ky.) urging lawmakers to move forward quickly.

“At a minimum, under the regular order, we can make sure at least they receive a vote by Friday morning. I hope the Democratic leader will finally consent to hold these votes on amendments today,” he said.

McConnell has teed up four proposals: A measure from Sens. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill All the times Horowitz contradicted Wray — but nobody seemed to notice Hillicon 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 MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDon’t disrespect McCain by torpedoing his clean National Defense Authorization Act Meghan McCain rips Trump's 'gross' line about her dad Trump's America fights back MORE (R-Ariz.) dealing with "Dreamers" and border security, an amendment from Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) cracking down on sanctuary cities, a bipartisan proposal from the Common Sense Coalition and a framework from the White House.

Under Senate rules, the soonest the Senate can vote is early Friday morning, unless lawmakers agree to speed things up. No votes are currently scheduled.

To overcome an initial procedural hurdle, any proposal would need to get 60 votes, meaning the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

As of Thursday morning each of the four measures appeared short of that total, though lawmakers and the White House are scrambling to lock down support.

Here’s what to watch for.

How many votes can the centrist measure get?

The centrist group, led by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt Skyrocketing insulin prices provoke new outrage MORE (R-Maine), is working to win over wary members on both sides.

Only eight Republican senators are on board with the proposal. If every Democratic senator supports it — which is not guaranteed — they would need at least 11 Republicans to get 60 votes.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally takes hard line on immigration in Arizona primary Flake threatens to limit Trump court nominees: report Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary MORE (R-Ariz.) told reporters he is working to whip votes for the plan.

“We’re close,” he said on Thursday. 

The proposal includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children, often referred to as Dreamers. It also contains $25 billion for border security and narrow changes to family-based immigration.

Several Republicans who backed a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013 that was much more expansive, including Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchSenate panel to hold hearing next week for Trump IRS nominee On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Senators hammer Ross over Trump tariffs MORE (Utah) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTreasury gave special designation to Nevada county after GOP lobbying: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix MORE (Nev.), have yet to say whether they will support the plan. 

A spokesman for Hatch said he is currently reviewing each of the proposals but "wants to support a proposal that not only can pass the House, but that can be signed into law by the President.”

But Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Senators hammer Ross over Trump tariffs GOP senator demands details on 'damaging' tariffs MORE (R-Tenn.), who also voted for the 2013 bill, on Thursday said he would vote against the bipartisan proposal, dealing a blow to the effort.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is actively lobbying against the proposal, saying it will incentivize more illegal immigration and increase crime.

In a statement Thursday, the White House said advisers would recommend that Trump veto the centrist bill if it reached his desk. 

“This Amendment would drastically change our national immigration policy for the worse by weakening border security and undercutting existing immigration law. … The Amendment would undermine the safety and security of American families and impede economic growth for American workers,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. 

Underscoring the uphill path the amendment has, Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Senate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed MORE (D-Ill.) warned that some members of the Democratic caucus could also oppose the plan over money it contains for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and a provision that blocks Dreamers from sponsoring parents that knowingly brought them into the country illegally.

"I'm telling you, there are people with serious issues over this compromise," Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said after a closed-door caucus meeting. 

If the bipartisan plan falls short of 60 votes, there’s a possibility that several Democrats — particularly those eying a run for the White House in 2020 — will end up voting against it.

How much support will Trump's "four pillars" plan get?

Trump’s plan, spearheaded by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report Senate Dems call for Judiciary hearing on Trump's 'zero tolerance' Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt MORE (R-Iowa), is widely expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.

If every Republican backed the measure, which appears unlikely, Grassley would still need to win over at nine Democratic senators to reach 60.

Only one Democratic senator, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Trump caves under immense pressure — what now? Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral Manchin up 9 points over GOP challenger in W.Va. Senate race MORE (W.Va.), has signaled he could potentially back Trump’s framework.

“Everything I've seen in it I can support, but I know that it might be a bridge too far for some people on my side of the aisle,” he told reporters.

The bill, which mirrors the White House framework, includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million people, $25 billion in border security, tougher interior enforcement and significant cuts to legal immigration.

The White House framework guts the diversity visa lottery program, making up for the cuts in legal immigration by accelerating admission of people stuck in the green card backlog.

How many Republicans will break with the president?

One thing to watch for is how many Republicans vote against the White House’s plan.

With that vote coming last, many Senate Republicans might be wary of contributing to the defeat of Trump’s proposal, even if many of them would prefer the bipartisan approach. Winning significantly less votes on the floor would be an embarrassment for the White House.

It remains to be seen whether Republican senators who have been involved in the bipartisan talks, like Collins, Graham, Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Trump, senators headed for clash on cyber policy GOP support growing for anti-Trump trade bill MORE (S.D.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio heckled by protestors outside immigration detention facility Bill to protect work licenses of student loan debtors is welcome development Political figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer MORE (Fla.), will support the White House framework if it’s the last chance for action on immigration. 

Flake, for one, has said he can’t support the White House plan due to the cuts it would make to legal immigration.

Republican senators up for reelection may be especially keen to avoid a break with the White House on the issue, given how crucial Trump’s support can be in fending off a primary challenge.

At least one Republican, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Senate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed MORE (Texas), appears dead set against all of the immigration proposals, including Trump’s. He voted against starting debate and says the Senate should not pass “amnesty” for Dreamers.

Will any Dems agree to Trump measure if it's the last bill standing?

Republicans are preparing to dare Democrats to either support the White House’s framework or accept doing nothing.

Under McConnell’s floor maneuvering, Trump’s plan is currently the last of the four measures to get a vote — setting up a take-it-or-leave-it dynamic for Democrats.

But Durbin predicted the Grassley–White House plan will still fall short, even if nothing else is able to get 60 votes.

"I think the writing's on the wall with the Grassley proposal. ... Few if any Democrats will vote for it,” he said.

Republicans will likely put pressure on the 10 Democrats up for reelection in states won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTom Arnold claims to have unreleased 'tapes' of Trump Cohen distances himself from Tom Arnold, says they did not discuss Trump US military indefinitely suspends two training exercises with South Korea MORE in 2016, as well as Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who just won a seat from the Republican-leaning state of Alabama.

Democrats will have to weigh the White House framework against the possibility of coming up empty-handed and playing the blame game with Trump from now until November.

And Grassley, who has repeatedly lashed out at Democrats, said if they agree to give his plan an initial 60 votes they would be able to offer changes before a final vote.

"Here's an opportunity to do something. We shouldn't miss this opportunity. ... It's got the best chance of getting through the House of Representatives, and it's the only one that you hear talked about that the president will sign,” he said.

If all of the Senate plans fail, it could give a boost to a more hawkish immigration bill in the House proposed by Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteHouse Judiciary Committee subpoenas FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts Trump tweet may doom House GOP effort on immigration House still plans immigration vote next week despite Trump's tweet MORE (R-Va.). 

Still, it remains to be seen whether Goodlatte’s bill can pass the House. And even if it did, it would almost certainly be dead on arrival in the Senate, essentially ensuring a failure to legislate on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, at least before March 5.