Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate banking panel showcases 2020 Dems | Koch groups urge Congress not to renew tax breaks | Dow down nearly 400 | Cuomo defends Amazon HQ2 deal GOP senator accuses fellow Republican of spreading ‘fake news’ about criminal justice reform bill The Hill's 12:30 Report - New White House threat to Acosta's press pass | Trump defends criticism of McRaven | Hamilton biographer to headline WHCA dinner MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said he will not use an immigration bill as the starting point for the Senate's debate on the issue.

"The bill I move to, which will not have underlying immigration text, will have an amendment process that will ensure a level playing field at the outset," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

The GOP leader's comments are the first signal he's given about what legislation he will, or will not, use as the Senate's "base" bill, expected to be used as a vehicle for the immigration debate.

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He added on Wednesday that senators from both sides would be able to "alternate proposals for consideration and for votes."

"While I obviously cannot guarantee any outcome, let alone supermajority support, I can ensure the process is fair to all sides, and that is what I intend to do," he said.

McConnell is expected to tee up the Senate's base legislation this week once the chamber passes an agreement to fund the government and raise the budget caps. The move could pave the way for a free-wheeling debate on the Senate floor next week.

The announcement comes as senators are struggling to reach an agreement to prevent a heated debate on immigration, a political lightning rod for both parties' bases.

The No. 2's group — consisting of Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinMultiple deaths in shooting at Chicago hospital Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing plan | Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs next year | Grassley opts for Finance gavel MORE (D-Ill.) and John CornynJohn CornynSenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Trump’s backing may not be enough on criminal justice reform MORE (R-Texas) and Reps. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyNancy Pelosi should be Speaker of the House Trump heads to California to meet first responders amid deadly wildfires Hillicon Valley: Russian-linked hackers may have impersonated US officials | Trump signs DHS cyber bill | Prosecutors inadvertently reveal charges against Assange | Accenture workers protest border enforcement work | App mines crypto for bail bonds MORE (R-Calif.) and Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats with military background offer support for Pelosi DeGette drops challenge to Clyburn in Dem leadership race Marcia Fudge under spotlight as Pelosi Speaker fight heats up MORE (D-Md.) — have failed to get a broad agreement favored by the White House.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, told reporters earlier this week that the administration wanted its framework to be the Senate's starting point.

That proposal would have offered a path to citizenship to roughly 1.8 million immigrants in exchange for tens of billions in border security and changes to legal immigration.

But it was panned by Democrats and some Republicans over concerns about cuts to legal immigration and limits on family-based immigration.

A group of centrists is eyeing a narrow deal that would just include a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and border security.

But President TrumpDonald John TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation MORE shot down a scaled-back bill from Sens. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsHillicon Valley: Facebook reeling after NYT report | Dems want DOJ probe | HQ2 brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Judge upholds Russian troll farm indictments | Cyber moonshot panel unveils recommendations Senators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill Dems press Justice Department to probe Facebook over political attacks MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump stokes new unlikely feud Meghan McCain: Living without father like 'some awful parallel universe' Leon Panetta’s nightmare is today's national security crisis MORE (R-Ariz.) because it didn't include funding for a border wall.

Any proposal will need 60 votes, meaning the support of both Democrats and Republicans, to pass the Senate.

McConnell's announcement comes after he said on Tuesday that he didn't have a "secret plan" for the upcoming immigration debate.

“I’m going to structure in such a way that’s fair to everyone. ... Whoever gets to 60 wins,” he said during a press conference.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Wednesday that Ryan should "do what Senator McConnell has agreed to do, allow a fair and open process to debate a dreamers bill on the House floor." 

Updated at 1:40 p.m.