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Graham calls Tom Cotton ‘the Steve King of the Senate'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamProgressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema GOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Lindsey Graham: Dismissal of Wuhan lab leak theory cost Trump 2020 election MORE (R-S.C.) said Friday that Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Media continues to lionize Anthony Fauci, despite his damning emails MORE (R-Ark.) has become "sort of the Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingPence to visit Iowa to headline event for congressman Former Steve King challenger on rural voters in GOP states: 'They hate Democrats' First Democrat announces Senate bid against Iowa's Grassley MORE of the Senate," a reference to one of the House's most ardent immigration hard-liners.

In an interview with MSNBC, Graham, who has advocated for legislative protections for young immigrants, rejected the notion of ending family-based immigration in exchange for enshrining the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into law.

A proposal by Cotton and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) seeks to end so-called chain migration, which allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor family members abroad to come to the U.S.

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"All I can say is we're not going to end family immigration for DACA," Graham said. "The Tom Cotton approach has no viability here. You know, he's become sort of the Steve King of the Senate."

"I like Tom, but on immigration, he's putting something on the table that there's just no market for in Phase 1," he added.

King, an Iowa Republican, has been a vocal advocate for curbing immigration and ending DACA, an Obama-era program rescinded by Trump last fall. 

Graham's comments came as lawmakers barrel toward a government shutdown amid a struggle to reach an agreement on a spending measure to keep the government running past Friday.

Democrats have insisted that any spending measure must include protections for DACA recipients, while some Republicans have called to address legal protections for the young immigrants, known as Dreamers, at a later date.