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 HoyerTechnology 'antitrust' legislation could slow product innovation, hurt the digital economy Hoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Feehery: Build back bipartisan 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 McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year MORE (R-Calif.) during a televised immigration meeting with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE at the White House on Jan. 9.  

ADVERTISEMENT

But Hoyer — who has huddled with McCarthy and Sens. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin on finishing agenda by Halloween: 'I don't know how that would happen' Senate Democrats ask for details on threats against election workers Fill the Eastern District of Virginia  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 GrahamA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products 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 GoodlatteThe job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden MORE (R-Va.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulPentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability Mike Siegel: Potential McConaughey candidacy a 'sideshow' in Texas governor race Biden signs bill to help victims of 'Havana syndrome' 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 HurdFirst Democrat jumps into key Texas House race to challenge Gonzales Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel MORE (R-Texas) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarFirst senator formally endorses Bass in LA mayoral bid Bass receives endorsement from EMILY's List Bass gets mayoral endorsement from former California senator 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.”