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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment Trump urges Dem leaders to pass new NAFTA before infrastructure deal 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes No agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Republican strategist says an Amash presidential bid wouldn't result in 'any real political gain' MORE (R-Calif.) during a televised immigration meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE at the White House on Jan. 9.  

But Hoyer — who has huddled with McCarthy and Sens. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (R-Texas) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThreat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Senate Democrats request watchdog, Red Cross probe DHS detention facilities Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 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 GrahamThreat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Graham urges Trump not to abandon infrastructure talks with Democrats Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit 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 McCaulTillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Bipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to reconsider Central America aid cuts 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 HurdDemocrats talk subpoena for Mueller Here are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act MORE (R-Texas) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarPro-business Dem group sees boost in fundraising Left flexes muscle in immigration talks Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security 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.”