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Dems block Senate vote on sanctuary cities

Dems block Senate vote on sanctuary cities
© Greg Nash

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (N.Y.) on Tuesday objected to a proposed vote on a Republican bill to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, arguing they have little to do with the fate of young immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission.

Democrats have not yielded back procedural time on the Senate floor, stalling the beginning of the immigration debate this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Schumer: Fight for Senate is 'neck and neck' Nikki Haley powerfully rebuts Trump MORE (R-Ky.) tried to get the ball rolling by proposing a vote on an amendment proposed by Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) addressing sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that refuse to help federal officials with immigration enforcement. Schumer immediately objected to that move.

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“The proposal he just offered does not address the underlying issues of this debate, why we’re here. It doesn’t address 'Dreamers' nor does it address border security,” Schumer argued.

That drew a swift rebuke from Republicans, who expressed irritation over the delaying tactic after Democrats had demanded for weeks an immigration debate on the Senate floor.

"The majority leader today tries to carry out that promise [to debate immigration] and get this bill moving and we have this objection. Very puzzling," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October MORE (R-Iowa).

"The leader has asked for unanimous consent to allow us to start debating these issues and the Democrats are refusing," Grassley added. "Puzzling, as I say it is, because they have been the ones to demand to have this debate."

Schumer, however, said the Senate should focus on bipartisan proposals — such as a measure backed by Sens. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats' same-sex partners 15 Saudis identified in disappearance of Washington Post columnist The Senate needs to cool it MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms MORE (R-Ariz.) that would give a path to citizenship to certain immigrants who came to the country as children and begin spending billions of dollars to improve security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Democratic leader proposed side-by-side votes on the Coons-McCain plan and President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE’s four-point proposal, which would give young immigrants known as Dreamers a path to citizenship, spend $25 billion on border security, reduce the weighting of family relationships in granting green cards and eliminate the diversity visa lottery program.

The president’s plan has been written into a bill supported by Grassley and several other GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter Susan Collins becomes top 2020 target for Dems MORE (Ark.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 MORE (N.C.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh, Ford saga approaches bitter end MORE (Okla.) and David Perdue (Ga.).

“To begin this debate as the Republican leader suggests would be getting off on the wrong foot, unrelated to DACA. Very partisan,” Schumer said of the proposal to vote on sanctuary cities.