WATCH: GOP reps say bipartisan DACA fix in the works
A bipartisan deal is in the works to protect young immigrants previously shielded from deportation under an Obama-era program, according to two GOP lawmakers pushing leaders to pass a measure by year's end.
"There's definitely a serious attempt at a bipartisan deal that has some security and a permanent fix," said Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), one of the 34 House Republicans who signed on to a letter calling for Congress to approve a legislative deal.
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), who is helping spearhead the GOP outreach, said the effort to provide protections for those previously in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is picking up steam, but he warned a deal would not include the DREAM Act, which has been pushed by some lawmakers.
"There's all kinds of things that are happening as far as a clean DACA bill or DREAM Act ... that could pass, but could it survive a presidential veto? That's the question," Newhouse told The Hill.
Taylor hinted that the "bipartisan behind-the-scenes work on a bill" could garner a lot of support, including among Hispanic members of Congress.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus didn't immediately return an inquiry about the effort.
Democrats have threatened to hold up government funding if Congress fails to act on a DACA fix well before March, the deadline President Trump gave lawmakers when he announced in September that he would rescind the Obama-era program.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) noted that Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and protections for DACA recipients are two sticking points potentially threatening funding.
On DACA, Cuellar pointed to Trump reaching out to bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate, saying, "If we can get it done now, let's see what happens. We'll see what the president does with the Big Four, if not we have [until] March to work something out."
Still, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said he was confident that Congress will take action on a fix soon, either as a standalone bill or as part of an end-of-year funding measure.
Asked how optimistic he is that it will happen by the end of 2017, Denham paused and said "very optimistic."