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McConnell: Trump’s support key for immigration legislation

McConnell: Trump’s support key for immigration legislation
© Greg Nash

No immigration bill is coming to the floor until President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE voices his support for a specific deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Trump rules out starting a new party: 'Fake news' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday.

McConnell is presiding over a caucus where members have some disagreements over border security and a deal to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with legislation.

While most Republicans support tougher border restrictions, they disagree on a number of details on how to deal with immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

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Trump has also given conflicting signals in the past week over what he will support.

“I'm looking for something that President Trump supports, and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” McConnell told reporters Wednesday. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.”

A bipartisan group of senators is expected to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would pair a fix for the DACA program along with border security. 

But Trump has shot down the proposal, telling Reuters on Wednesday that it is “horrible” on border security and includes “very, very weak” changes to legal immigration. 

Trump took a tougher line on a potential deal at a White House meeting last week after signaling some flexibility at an earlier meeting, at which he even suggested he could sign whatever bill Congress sends him. 

Leadership in both parties — as well as White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and Marc Short, the director of legislative affairs — met Wednesday as part of DACA talks but failed to reach an agreement. 

Asked if a majority of the Senate GOP caucus needs to support any deal, McConnell noted that both sides are working to try to get an outcome.

“What I want to see is an outcome, and an outcome involves the signature of the president. ... So what I'm waiting for in terms of making a decision about floor time is are we dealing with an issue that has a chance to become law,” he said. 

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo MORE (D-Ill.), who took part in the meeting with Kelly, questioned Wednesday how Democrats could know what Trump would support if the Senate GOP leader doesn't. 

“If he doesn't know, it's hard for me to know,” Durbin said.