McConnell says he'll bring DACA bill to floor in January if negotiators reach deal

McConnell says he'll bring DACA bill to floor in January if negotiators reach deal
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he will bring legislation to address a key Obama-era immigration program up for a vote if negotiators can reach a deal by the end of January. 

“If negotiators reach an agreement on these matters by the end of January, I will bring it to the Senate floor for a free-standing vote. I encourage those working on such legislation to develop a compromise that can be widely supported by both political parties and actually become law,” McConnell said in a statement. 

He noted that there are ongoing negotiations between senators and Trump administration officials focused on tackling border security, interior enforcement and “reforming important parts of our broken immigration system, including addressing the unlawfully established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program.” 

McConnell’s comments come as negotiators are increasingly signaling they will have to kick talks over pairing a DACA fix with a border security package into next year despite demands from immigration activists. 

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said on Wednesday that he had gotten a commitment from McConnell to hold a vote in January. 

“I am ... pleased that the majority leader has committed to bring the bipartisan DACA bill we are currently negotiating to the Senate floor in January,” he said in a statement.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (R-Texas) confirmed the promise but noted that senators didn't have an immigration bill yet. 

The Trump administration has announced it will end DACA, which allows immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school without fear of deportation. 

Congress faces a mid-March deadline to pass legislation addressing the program or hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be at risk of deportation.  

Senators have introduced a flurry of bills as they try to work out an agreement. 

McConnell noted on Wednesday that he supports legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa), Cornyn and several other GOP senators earlier this month. 

That bill would extend DACA for three years, while pairing it with measures to bolster border security.