Dems block McConnell from setting up immigration votes

Dems block McConnell from setting up immigration votes
© Greg Nash
Democrats, for a second time on Tuesday, blocked Republicans from holding initial votes on immigration plans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin 'can't imagine' supporting change to filibuster for voting rights Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE (R-Ky.) tried to set up a vote at 8 p.m. on a proposal from Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) that targets federal grants for cities that don't comply with immigration law. He also wanted to vote on a separate plan from Sens. Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBottom line Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Key Biden ally OK with dropping transit from infrastructure package MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (R-Ariz.) that links a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a border security plan. 
But Dick DurbinDick DurbinCongress should butt out of Supreme Court's business Inmates grapple with uncertainty over Biden prison plan Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat who has been heavily involved with the talks, objected to McConnell's request. He argued that bipartisan talks are ongoing and Toomey's amendment doesn't directly relate to the DACA program.
"There have been meetings that have been going on all day on a bipartisan basis to try to resolve the issue before us. ... I believe progress is being made. I hope that we can continue along those lines," he said.
The back-and-forth came after Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin on reported boos at Democratic luncheon: 'I heard a lot of nos' Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE (D-N.Y.) blocked a request by the GOP leader earlier Tuesday to set up a vote on Toomey's amendment and a separate, unspecified Democratic amendment. 
McConnell and other GOP senators hammered Democrats throughout Tuesday for slow-walking the immigration debate after demanding that it be brought to the Senate floor as part of the deal to end a three-day government shutdown in January.
"Dems just objected AGAIN! When are the Dems going to carry out what they’ve been promising the DACA kids for several months? Let’s move fwd or level w us that you don’t want to help. my bill could solve issues for DACA kids + strengthens border security," GOP Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (Iowa) tweeted after the floor scuffle.
Senators had predicted that they would have a wide-ranging free-for-all of a debate this week as they hunt for a plan that can get 60 votes, the amount needed to break a filibuster. Instead, the rhetoric took an increasingly partisan turn on Tuesday with both sides arguing the other needed to compromise to move the chamber forward.
As a result of the standstill, the Senate is expected to vote to formally begin debate on Wednesday morning.
GOP senators said McConnell collected signatures for cloture petitions during a closed-door caucus lunch earlier Tuesday as he looks for a way to break the current logjam.
The GOP leader wants to wrap up debate on the immigration bill by the end of the week.
“We have other things to do,” he told reporters, when asked if he would let the debate extend beyond this week.
The Senate is currently scheduled to be on a weeklong recess next week. Resuming the debate once they return could push a final immigration vote up against the initial March 5 deadline to find a DACA fix.