White House, Democrats reject competing DACA offers
© Getty

The White House and congressional Democrats are struggling to break a stalemate on immigration, with both sides rejecting competing proposals over the weekend.

The Trump administration pitched a deal to include $25 billion in border wall funding and a two-and-a-half-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in a mammoth government funding bill, but Democrats rejected the offer, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The source added that Democrats countered by offering $25 billion in border wall funding in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for the larger "Dreamers" population, roughly 1.8 million, a move that has been supported by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE, but the White House said no.

ADVERTISEMENT

The legislative back-and-forth, which was first reported by Politico, comes as lawmakers are racing to finalize the omnibus funding bill ahead of Friday's deadline to prevent the third partial closure of the government this year.

The funding bill could be unveiled as soon as Monday evening and represents one the final pieces of major legislation expected to be passed by Congress before the midterm elections.

But both sides remain far apart over the DACA program, which allows immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to work and go to school, underscoring the unlikely uphill battle to getting an agreement included in the spending package.

The White House decision last week to float, and then partially walk back, that Trump was open to including an immigration fix in the omnibus appeared to catch top Republicans off guard.

"I don't see — this [omnibus] has got lots of moving parts associated with it. ... I think it's going to be a heavy lift in light of all the other elements," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph Thune Google, Apple, Amazon execs to testify at Senate privacy hearing this month Trump gets good news on wages Flake rebuts Trump: Anonymous op-ed author did not commit 'treason' MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said at the time

Democrats have also backed away from their demand that a DACA fix be included in the spending bill in order for them to support it, a shift from January, when they forced a three-day government shutdown. 

The Senate's debate has largely been stalemated since last month, when the chamber rejected three immigration and border security proposals, including the White House framework. 

Since then, GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation Kavanaugh accuser says FBI should investigate before she testifies MORE (Ariz.) has tried twice to pass his bill that would extend DACA for three years in exchange for $7.6 billion in border security funding. Both times he was blocked by a GOP senator, and the White House said last week that it doesn't support a so-called three-for-three plan. 

The Trump administration announced last year it was ending DACA and the March 5 deadline, established by the decision, came and passed with no action from Congress. The program currently remains in place while the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reviews a U.S. district court injunction barring the administration from ending the program.