Senate

Schumer warns McConnell against immigration ‘breach of trust’

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is warning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not to backtrack on a promise to take up immigration legislation next month.

"If he does not honor our agreement, it will be a breach of trust, not only with the Democratic senators but with several members of his own party as well," Schumer warned.

Schumer has come under fire from fellow Democrats and liberals for ending a three-day government shutdown based on a McConnell promise to take up immigration legislation next month.

Democrats voted Monday for a three-week spending measure to reopen the government after McConnell promised to bring immigration debate with a "level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides" after Feb. 8 - if leaders don't negotiate an immigration deal before then.

Many Democrats, however, don't think McConnell can be trusted. They say the GOP leader failed to deliver on his promise to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on bringing up legislation to shore up ObamaCare's individual market by the end of 2017. They are also hailing McConnell's commitment, unmet so far, to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to move an immigration bill in January.

McConnell told Flake he would move a bill to help an estimated 800,000 immigrants known as "Dreamers" "if negotiators reach an agreement on these matters by the end of January."

A bipartisan group of negotiators reached a deal to protect immigrants who came to the country illegally as children from deportation but McConnell did not move the bill because President Trump opposed it, as did many members of his own conference.

Schumer said that leaders have only 16 days until government funding runs out again to craft an immigration agreement, after which McConnell has promised an open floor debate.

He said he believes there is now enough political will in the Senate to pass a bill before the March 5 deadline Trump set after rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September.

"I am more hopeful today than last week that we can assemble 60 votes for a DACA bill in the Senate and we now have a real pathway to get such a bill through the Senate," Schumer said. 

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