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Trump, GOP senators: No DACA deal in spending bill

Trump, GOP senators: No DACA deal in spending bill
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President Trump and GOP senators agreed during a closed-door White House meeting that they would not include a fix for a key Obama-era program as part of an end-of-the-year spending bill.

"There was also a consensus that anyone on the other side of the aisle who thinks that they're just going to codify DACA in the year-end appropriations bill, it may not be very well received," Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate hears from Biden's high-profile judicial nominees for first time Senate Democrats take aim at 'true lender' interest rate rule Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE (R-N.C.) told reporters.

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Opposition to refugees echoes one of America's most shameful moments White House defends CDC outreach to teachers union MORE (R-Ark.) added that senators and Trump agreed that an immigration deal would not be included in "omnibus or any other ... must-pass piece of legislation in 2017."

"Absolutely not on the omnibus under no circumstances. Sen. McConnell says the same thing," Cotton added.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (R-Ky.) said he didn't have any announcements on spending bills and declined to discuss private conversations. 

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Several GOP senators, including Cotton, Tillis and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats On The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B MORE (Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, met with Trump at the White House to discuss immigration and their ongoing negotiations on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Trump decided earlier this year that he would phase out DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school without fear of deportation.

Lawmakers have until early 2018 to come up with an agreement. If they fail, hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are currently in the country illegally would be at risk of being deported.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (R-Texas), who was in the meeting, predicted that Congress would pass legislation in January or February.

"This is not going to be part of the year-end omnibus or CR," he told reporters, referring to a short-term funding bill.

The decision, if Republicans stick to the deal, would set up an end-of-the-year showdown with Democrats.

Democrats are warning they will demand a DACA fix either before or as part of the December government funding bill.

"We have to find a way to get this done before the end of the year," said Sen. Dick DurbinDick Durbin28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw MORE (D-Ill.). "[This] limits the opportunities."

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), quickly blasted the agreement by Republicans and Trump as a "scheme to hold the DREAM Act hostage."

"A clean bipartisan, bicameral Dream Act is the solution and should be taken up for a vote without delay. The CHC will work for as long as it takes to get this done before this Congress goes home for the holidays," she said.

Durbin has been talking with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood causes headache for GOP in key S.C. race GOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP MORE (R-S.C.) about a potential agreement, but said on Thursday that he was still waiting to get an initial list from Republicans on what they want on border security.

The meeting, senators said, was to give Trump a general update on their framework before he leaves Friday to go to Asia.

A group of GOP senators, headed up by Grassley, have been working on the broad contours of a potential DACA and border security agreement.

Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordTop border officials defend Biden policies Rubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session MORE (R-Okla.), Cotton and Tillis, who are a part of the talks and attended Thursday's meeting, each said separately that an immigration deal would need to include tougher border security measures and a crackdown on "chain migration."

"There was consensus that the parameters that we that we set forth was a good phase one, and then we quickly move to phase two," Tillis said.

Lankford added that the next step for Republicans would be to work out a consensus within the Grassley group before opening up wider negotiations.

Conservatives and immigration hawks have been clamoring for steep curbs to legal immigration, but senators, at the moment, appear to be setting that aside.

Cotton, who sponsored the RAISE Act with Perdue, noted that he had ideas on green card reforms and the guest worker program, but signaled those could be left out of a DACA deal.

He described the potential agreement as a "tightly bound coherent package."

"If you keep trying to add more and more into the bill I think it likely collapses under its own weight," he said. 

Updated: 3:52 p.m.