Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday

Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Ill.) said that a bipartisan group of senators will release their immigration and border security bill on Wednesday, despite pushback from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE.

"It will be available tomorrow and we're prepared for a vote as quickly as possible," Durbin told reporters on Tuesday

He added that the group of six senators are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives To avoid November catastrophe, Democrats have to KO Sanders MORE (R-Ky.) to give them a "test vote" to show the level of support for the forthcoming legislation. 

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"And if it is successful, as I believe it will be, [I hope] that Sen. McConnell will include it as an amendment to must-pass legislation," Durbin said.

Durbin didn't specify what "must-pass legislation" he was referring to, but Congress has roughly four days to pass a short-term stopgap funding bill to prevent a government shutdown. 

Democrats have remained tight-lipped about if they will support the funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, without an immigration deal.

Spokespeople for Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Congress eyes killing controversial surveillance program Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE (S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane Flake70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents McSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad McSally launches 2020 campaign MORE (Ariz.), two GOP members of the so-called Gang of Six, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the timing of the legislation or what a potential "test vote" could be. 

In addition to Flake, Graham and Durbin, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand Bennet Biden proposes 0B housing plan Nevada caucuses open with a few hiccups Overnight Energy: EPA moves to limit financial pressure on 'forever chemical' manufacturers | California sues Trump over water order| Buttigieg expands on climate plan MORE (Colo.) as well as GOP Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way MORE (Colo.) have been negotiating the agreement.

Flake has signaled that they've picked up additional supporters, though a spokesman for Durbin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Senate group's bill is expected to tie a pathway to citizenship to roughly $2.7 billion in border security.

It's also expected to shuffle some of the diversity lottery visas toward Temporary Protected Status (TPS) countries and make changes to family-based immigration that would be limited to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and their family members.

But the group could face an uphill battle to get a floor vote. McConnell has said he will only bring up an immigration bill if the president has indicated that he'll sign it.

Trump sparked a political firestorm after he reportedly referred to several developing nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with Durbin, Graham and several conservative lawmakers last week.

The president has also blasted the bipartisan group's bill, saying Durbin "blew" the chances of an agreement on the Obama-era DACA program which allows certain young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to work and go to school in the U.S. 

"The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. ... We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery," Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday

Conservative lawmakers have also criticized the legislation for not including tougher interior enforcement measures.