Dem whip pushes back on 'four pillars' approach to Dreamers

Dem whip pushes back on 'four pillars' approach to Dreamers
© Greg Nash

House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHillicon Valley: Social media faces scrutiny after New Zealand attacks | YouTube removed 'tens of thousands' of shooting videos | DHS chief warns of state-backed cyber threats | House Dems plan April vote on net neutrality House to take up gender pay gap, Violence Against Women Act House Dems plan April vote on net neutrality bill MORE (D-Md.) on Tuesday rejected the notion that a deal to protect the so-called Dreamers must include other provisions reducing legal immigration.  

“There was no agreement that that was the agenda,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. 

As part of the ongoing talks to salvage the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Republican leaders are pushing a package that combines the DACA protections with three other provisions: enhanced border security, new limits on family migration and the elimination of the diversity visa lottery. That approach was trumpeted by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOvernight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide GOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests MORE (R-Calif.) during a televised immigration meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: 'White supremacists pose a threat to the United States like any other terrorist group' National Enquirer paid 0,000 for Bezos texts: report Santorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting MORE at the White House on Jan. 9.  

But Hoyer — who has huddled with McCarthy and Sens. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn shrugs off Trump criticism of 'SNL' GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Julian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run MORE (R-Texas) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison MORE (D-Ill.) in recent weeks in search of a DACA deal — said House Democrats were never on board with all four provisions. The latter two, he argued, should be part of a comprehensive immigration reform package, not the more narrow DACA legislation. 

“We didn’t agree with some of the things, and I made that clear, that there was no agreement on that,” Hoyer said. 

“The first two we’re discussing; the third and fourth … we’re not in agreement with their position, and more importantly … we think that belongs in the comprehensive immigration basket.”

That position puts House Democratic leaders at odds with those in the Senate, where Durbin, joined by Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOverwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Bottom Line Pence traveling to SC for Graham reelection launch MORE (R-S.C.), has introduced a DACA bill adopting the four-tiered approach Hoyer rebuffed.

“I’m not sure that Sen. Durbin doesn’t agree with us,” Hoyer explained. “He obviously made a deal. Most times when you make a deal you’re not happy with everything that’s in it.”

Trump announced the end of the five-year-old DACA program in September, arguing the Obama administration lacked the authority to create the program unilaterally. But Trump said he supports the concept, and gave Congress until March 5 to codify the protections with legislation.

The fast-approaching deadline has led to the recent introduction of a number of competing proposals to do just that.

Aside from the Durbin-Graham proposal, which Trump has rejected, Reps. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems aim to end anti-Semitism controversy with vote today Sixteen years later, let's finally heed the call of the 9/11 Commission  GOP lawmakers urge State Dept. to label cartels as terrorist organizations MORE (R-Texas) have introduced an enforcement-heavy DACA bill popular with conservatives. The White House issued an outline last week that would provide eventual citizenship rights to roughly 1.8 million Dreamers, combined with a slew of tough enforcement measures and a sharp reduction in legal immigration. And Reps. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Hillicon Valley: US threatens to hold intel from Germany over Huawei | GOP senator targets FTC over privacy | Bipartisan bill would beef up 'internet of things' security | Privacy groups seize on suspended NSA program | Tesla makes U-turn MORE (R-Texas) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarLeft flexes muscle in immigration talks Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security Lawmakers haggling over border dollars much lower than Trump's demand MORE (D-Calif.) are pushing legislation coupling the DACA protections with enhanced border security, without the additional provisions.  

Hoyer on Tuesday predicted only the Hurd-Aguilar bill could muster the majority needed to pass the House.  

“Maybe not a majority of the Republicans,” he said, “but certainly a majority of the House.”