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GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed

GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed
© Greg Nash
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins and the mob mentality Graham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked MORE (R-Maine) asserted Wednesday that the Senate had enough votes to pass an immigration bill in February but talks were derailed by the administration.
 
Collins said during a Senate Appropriations hearing that an immigration deal fell apart after the Department of Homeland Security issued a "misleading" memo and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE threatened to veto the bill.
 
“We were there," said Collins, who pushed to secure support for legislation earlier this year. "At one point I could count the 60 votes.”
 
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The Senate voted on four separate proposals in February, after Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials ratchet up fight over drug pricing | McConnell says Republicans could try again on ObamaCare repeal | Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel MORE (R-Ky.) promised to bring immigration bills to the floor to end a short-lived government shutdown led by Democrats. But all four proposals fell short of the 60 votes necessary to advance.
 
Lawmakers voted on a flurry of immigration measures after Trump canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September.
 
Trump gave Congress until March to find a legislative replacement for DACA, but neither chamber has passed a bill and the House has yet to vote on any proposal. 
 
Several court rulings have kept the Obama-era program in place as lawmakers have weighed efforts to enshrine the protections in law.
 
 
“Look, I’ll be frank. My view is a plan that would end the illegality, along with some relief for the DACA young people, is possible. It can be done,” said Sessions, who has maintained a hard-line position on illegal immigration.
 
Of the four bills that the Senate voted on earlier this year, a centrist, bipartisan measure got the most votes (54-45), but it failed to overcome the chamber's 60-vote threshold.
 
Collins hosted bipartisan talks that produced that proposal, which Trump threatened to veto because it did not cover all four "pillars" of the White House immigration proposal.
 
Still, the centrist approach outperformed all other proposals. Trump's proposal received the fewest votes, with 14 GOP senators and all but three Democrats opposing it.