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Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday

Durbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' For a win on climate, let's put our best player in the game Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap 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 TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns 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 McConnellTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Appointing a credible, non-partisan Jan. 6 commission should not be difficult Why President Biden is all-in in infrastructure 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 GrahamGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish' MORE (S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' 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 BennetDemocrats get good news from IRS Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision Biden announces first slate of diverse judicial nominees MORE (Colo.) as well as GOP Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 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.