The Senate’s immigration debate is hitting a wall before it even gets started.
The Democrats have once again blocked the Republicans from voting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, GOP senators are coming up with different approaches to find a solution that could get 60 votes on the wall program, which is a bare minimum requisition to pass the legislation.
The conservatives are planning to cause the White House framework to fail that will be signed by President Donald Trump. “The president’s framework is not an opening bid in negotiations. It is a best and final offer,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told reporters.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said that while it had “informed the discussion,” senators needed to work out the endgame amongst themselves.
“I think this is a Senate product. He has his framework already out there. That’s informed the discussion, but we need to work this out ourselves,” he said.
This includes the schemes launched during the Obama-era such as, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is offering citizenship to illegal immigrants. President Donald Trump is against such programs and wants to unwind bills that will address each of the four pillars as agreed during the bipartisan meeting with President Donald Trump last month.
“We’re beginning to refine whether or not it’s a two-pillar bill or a four-pillar bill, and what are the combinations that would allow it to be four pillar,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) mentioned that a final agreement can emerge; however, questioned if any legislation could win as a minimum of 60 senate votes are required to the pass the White House.
“I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the debate develops, and I’m not sure the plan is on the table yet that’s the plan that finally passes,” he said.
A group of roughly 20 bipartisan senators, led by Senator Susan Colling (R-Maine), is looking for a compromise that can be backed by both parties.
“We’re continuing to have discussions. … I think we’re making progress, but we’re not there yet. This is a very complex issue, and you pull one thread and unravel a whole other part of the tapestry,” Collins said.
Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said that a subgroup of the alliance is working on a bigger proposal that will accommodate with the changes for the diversity visa lottery and family-based immigration.
“It’s a drafting group that we want to present to the full group,” he said, adding that there could be “several drafting groups.”
“Let’s do Senate immigration math for a minute. There’s never been … a major immigration measure that’s passed the Senate without an overwhelming Democratic majority and enough Republicans,” Durbin said.
Despite the fact that the courts could prevent the administration from ending the program, chief of Staff at White House, Kelly, has warned that President Donald Trump will not be extending the deadline.
“I think the time for talking is sort of coming to an end, and now it’s a time for voting,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “If there’s no deal by the end of the week that, I think, leaves the DACA recipients in some jeopardy.”