Curbelo a 'yes' on budget, says DACA solution 'within reach'

Curbelo a 'yes' on budget, says DACA solution 'within reach'
© Greg Nash

The House Republicans' leading voice on immigration reform on Thursday said he'll support a budget deal to fund the government for two years, despite the legislation not including DACA provisions.

Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloOvernight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax House votes to disavow carbon tax Mueller indictments: Congressional candidate asked Russian operatives for info on opponent MORE (R-Fla.), a fiscal conservative, voted against the last three continuing resolutions because they didn't include a legislative replacement for DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"Today the Speaker [Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress Interior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia MORE (R-Wis.)] delivered his strongest commitment yet that [DACA] legislation will be considered on the floor of the House," said Curbelo in a statement. "Paired with the certainty the Senate will be holding a fair and open debate on immigration legislation next week, I am now more hopeful than ever a solution on DACA is within reach."

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Curbelo's vote of confidence in immigration negotiations could provide cover to moderate Republicans — and some Democrats — as pro-immigration progressives decry the budget bill for not addressing the issue.

House Democratic leaders have pledged not to vote for the deal, agreed upon in the Senate, mainly because it lacks an immigration component.

But Minority Leader Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMeadows calls ex-Trump aide surveillance docs 'potentially groundbreaking development' Pelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress Top Ethics Dem calls for Nielsen to resign MORE (D-Calif.) also said she wasn't going to whip her caucus against the bill, angering progressives.

At issue is whether a pledge by Ryan to address DACA after a budget bill is passed will lead to legislation that immigration proponents can live with.

"We want a DACA solution. Guess what? In order to shift our focus and get to the next big priority, which is a DACA solution, we gotta get this budget agreement done so that we can go and focus on this," Ryan said in a press conference Thursday. "And I said it once and I'll say it again, we will bring a DACA solution to the floor."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress GOP to White House: End summit mystery Sunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight MORE (R-Ky.) pledged Wednesday to bring a blank-slate bill for debate on the Senate floor once the budget agreement is approved.

Curbelo, a two-term Republican who rarely invites controversy, in November pledged not to vote for spending bills until DACA was replaced permanently by Congress.

"The main obstacles to that goal have been congressional leaders' refusal to allow each Chamber to consider legislation on the Floor and the objections of extremists in both parties," said Curbelo.

“Yesterday I shared with the Speaker that in my view it was critical for him to explicitly rule out the possibility of inaction by the House on immigration legislation that includes a permanent solution on DACA," he added.

Curbelo is considered a vulnerable Republican in the 2018 midterms. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House protests extend into sixth day despite rain Clinton: US is 'losing friends and allies' under Trump Justice Dept releases surveillance applications for former Trump aide MORE easily won his district by more than 16 points in the 2016 presidential election. 

The House is expected to vote Thursday on the proposal after it's passed by the Senate.