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 TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE and the White House. 
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses MORE's (R-S.C.) office announced that GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (Maine), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Tenn.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee MORE (Alaska) and Mike RoundsMike RoundsThe 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill Senate passes T bipartisan infrastructure bill in major victory for Biden Senate votes to end debate on T infrastructure bill 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 FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (Ariz.) and Cory GardnerCory GardnerProtecting the outdoors: Three cheers for America's best idea Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program 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 McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party 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 DurbinSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema MORE (Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Failed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat MORE (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBuild Back Better Act must include funding to restore forests, make communities resilient and create jobs Interior reverses Trump, moves BLM headquarters back to DC Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan 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 LankfordGOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Florida senator seeks probe of Ben & Jerry's halting sales in Israeli settlements Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama MORE (Okla.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) 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 GrassleyGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal 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 CornynSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill 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 HoyerBudget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda MORE (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWhite House debates vaccines for air travel McCarthy on Dems' spending bill: 'The amount of money we spent to win World War II' Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms 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.