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 HoyerDemocrat accuses GOP of opposing DC statehood because of 'race and partisanship' News outlets choose their darlings, ignore others' voices Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul 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 McCarthyClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe MORE (R-Calif.) during a televised immigration meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE at the White House on Jan. 9.  

But Hoyer — who has huddled with McCarthy and Sens. John CornynJohn CornynTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer MORE (R-Texas) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately 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 GrahamSenate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 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 GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHong Kong activists visit Capitol Hill Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state Overnight Defense: GOP grumbles after Trump delays military projects for wall | House panel hints at subpoena for Afghanistan envoy | Kabul bombing raises doubts about Taliban talks 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 HurdGOP struggles with retirement wave Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House MORE (R-Texas) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarDemocratic leaders seek balance amid liberal push to go big on immigration Katherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck 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.”