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McConnell says he'll bring DACA bill to floor in January if negotiators reach deal

McConnell says he'll bring DACA bill to floor in January if negotiators reach deal
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he will bring legislation to address a key Obama-era immigration program up for a vote if negotiators can reach a deal by the end of January. 

“If negotiators reach an agreement on these matters by the end of January, I will bring it to the Senate floor for a free-standing vote. I encourage those working on such legislation to develop a compromise that can be widely supported by both political parties and actually become law,” McConnell said in a statement. 

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He noted that there are ongoing negotiations between senators and Trump administration officials focused on tackling border security, interior enforcement and “reforming important parts of our broken immigration system, including addressing the unlawfully established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program.” 

McConnell’s comments come as negotiators are increasingly signaling they will have to kick talks over pairing a DACA fix with a border security package into next year despite demands from immigration activists. 

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said on Wednesday that he had gotten a commitment from McConnell to hold a vote in January. 

“I am ... pleased that the majority leader has committed to bring the bipartisan DACA bill we are currently negotiating to the Senate floor in January,” he said in a statement.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees MORE (R-Texas) confirmed the promise but noted that senators didn't have an immigration bill yet. 

The Trump administration has announced it will end DACA, which allows immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school without fear of deportation. 

Congress faces a mid-March deadline to pass legislation addressing the program or hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be at risk of deportation.  

Senators have introduced a flurry of bills as they try to work out an agreement. 

McConnell noted on Wednesday that he supports legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request MORE (R-Iowa), Cornyn and several other GOP senators earlier this month. 

That bill would extend DACA for three years, while pairing it with measures to bolster border security.