SPONSORED:

Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters

A bipartisan immigration agreement is picking up the support of several additional GOP senators despite opposition from President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE and the White House. 
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Sanders expresses 'serious concerns' with Biden's defense increase MORE's (R-S.C.) office announced that GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate MORE (Maine), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality Blunt's retirement deals blow to McConnell inner circle MORE (Tenn.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTop GOP super PAC endorses Murkowski amid primary threat Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate MORE (Alaska) and Mike RoundsMike RoundsCongress looks to rein in Biden's war powers Columbine and the era of the mass shooter, two decades on GOP senator tweets statue of himself holding gun to Biden: 'Come and take it' MORE (S.D.) are signing onto the forthcoming legislation. 
 
That brings the total number of Republican lawmakers officially backing the bill up to seven, including Graham and GOP Sens. 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.) and 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.)—who were part of the original "Gang of Six." 
 
ADVERTISEMENT


“I’m very pleased that our bipartisan proposal continues to gain support among my Republican colleagues. Our hope is to bring forward a proposal that leads to a solution the president can embrace," Graham said in a statement. 
 
But the legislation faces an uphill climb in the Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (R-Ky.) has conditioned an immigration deal getting a floor vote on Trump supporting it. 
 
“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.”
 
Trump has lambasted the Senate group's bill, which is expected to be formally announced this week. 
 
He told Reuters on Wednesday that the proposal is “horrible” on border security and “very, very weak” on reforms to the legal immigration system.
 
In addition to Trump's support, any Senate bill will likely need 60 votes to end a filibuster. 
 
If Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Number of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing MORE (Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Biden under pressure to spell out Cuba policy Senators to Biden: 'We must confront the reality' on Iran nuclear program MORE (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenators press for answers in Space Command move decision Biden announces first slate of diverse judicial nominees American Rescue Plan: Ending child poverty — let's make it permanent MORE (Colo.)—the other members of the "Gang of Six"—can win over every member of the 49-member caucus that means they will need the support from a total of 11 GOP senators. 

The uptick in support was immediately met by backlash from a coalition of GOP senators who have offered their own proposals.  

"As we have said from the beginning, any successful deal also needs buy-in from the White House. Unfortunately, the ‘Gang of Six’ proposal falls short since it fails to include even basic border security reforms," GOP Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many MORE (Okla.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings GOP senator recovering from surgery for prostate cancer Congress must address the toxic exposure our veterans have endured MORE (N.C.) said in a joint statement. 
 
The two GOP senators added that "we still believe that we’re closer to a deal than we’ve ever been, and we are ready to work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to get this done." 

The two senators have offered their own bill that included a path to citizenship, but was meant to be paired with a border security plan. 

GOP Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyNumber of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing The Hill's Morning Report - GOP pounces on Biden's infrastructure plan MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (Ark.) said the "Gang of Six" bill "would do nothing to solve the underlying problem in our current immigration system." 

"It’s inconceivable that anyone would shut down the government over this plan. It’s time to come back to the negotiating table and focus on getting a serious solution to the DACA situation that protects all Americans and our national security," they said. 

Cotton and Perdue were part of a White House immigration meeting last week when Trump reportedly referred to several developing countries as "shitholes," though the president and the two GOP senators have accused Durbin of misrepresenting the meeting. 

And two of the four GOP senators who are signing on are also making it clear that they are open to other immigration proposals. Congressional leadership continues to hold separate negotiations. 

Alexander added on Wednesday that Graham's proposal is a "starting point for reaching consensus and will support other responsible proposals.”

Rounds echoed that, calling the Graham-Durbin proposal an "important first step." 
 
"While this bill is not perfect, I will continue to work on a product that includes appropriate e-verify provisions, a stronger border security system and lays the framework for more reform, including work visas. These are the provisions required for me to support the bill in final form so we can get to the next phase," he said. 
 
The Trump administration announced last year that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, kicking the fight to Congress. 

Democrats are demanding that a short-term funding bill that needs to be passed this week to prevent a shutdown include an immigration fix. 

Durbin on Wednesday appeared optimistic that every Democrat will ultimately support his legislation, despite pushback from progressives who feel like the deal goes too far. 
 
Durbin implied during a floor speech on Wednesday evening that he has been able to win over the 49-member Democratic caucus—which includes a coalition of vulnerable red state members as well as progressives and 2020 White House hopefuls. 
 
"We have 56 senators ready to move forward with this issue," he said from the Senate floor. 
 
The bill would pair a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that includes a pathway to citizenship, which the Trump administration announced it was ending last year, with a border security package, an elimination of the Diversity Visa Lottery and changes to family-based immigration. 
 
According to a fact sheet on the forthcoming legislation, it would include more than $2.7 billion on border security and reallocate half of the diverse lottery visages to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. It would give half to individuals from underrepresented "priority countries." 

But Republicans argue that they have until March 5 to come up with a fix, and potentially longer after a court ordered the Trump administration to keep the program in place while litigation plays out. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Number of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, reiterated on Wednesday that the Graham-Durbin bill will not be the "template" for a final deal. 
 
"The longer we keep kicking that dead horse the longer we're ... going to delay getting to a real solution," he told reporters. 
 
Cornyn, Durbin and Reps. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse to vote on DC statehood, gender pay gap Moderate Democrats warn leaders against meddling in Iowa race Democrats vow to go 'bold' — with or without GOP MORE (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRepublican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border Harris in difficult starring role on border MORE (R-Calif.) met with White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE on Wednesday. The four lawmakers are expected to meet again on Thursday.
 
 
 
-Updated 7:22 p.m.