Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., listens to a question while speaking with the media after he and other Senate Republicans had a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
As best as I can tell, this is the current state of play of the Senate’s immigration debate.
There seem to be two major bills.
There is the bill by Chuck Grassley that embodies President Trump’s “four pillars”, i.e., (1) creating a path to citizenship for DREAMers, (2) securing the border by building The Wall and improving interior enforcement, (3) eliminating the diversity visa lottery, and (4) limiting chain migration. This bill has been endorsed by the Senate leadership and by President Trump.
Trump announces support for Grassley immigration bill. pic.twitter.com/giY0RHdGWZ
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 14, 2018
Trump has said this is his line in the sand and there will be no compromise on these four issues.
President Donald Trump is refusing to budge from his immigration framework, and he and his allies on Capitol Hill are laying the groundwork to heap the blame on Democrats if the Senate fails to reach a deal this week.
In Trump’s view, according to administration officials and GOP senators, he’s already compromised beyond where he and his staff felt comfortable by offering 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. And if Democrats want to step up this week and sink the president’s proposal, that will be on them, they said.
Naturally, anywhere you find immigration mentioned you find “moderates” hard at work doing whatever it is that moderates do:
A bipartisan Senate group has clinched a deal on immigration, though it faces an uncertain future as GOP opposition builds against any plan that deviates from President Donald Trump’s proposal.
The text of the agreement is expected to be unveiled later Wednesday, multiple senators said as they left a bipartisan meeting aimed at getting a consensus agreement to the floor. The accord would provide $25 billion for border security and a wall, a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants and restrictions on those immigrants’ parents becoming citizens, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
The original plan authored by Chuck Schumer seems to be dead but the various parts of it were stripped out and reassembled in the moderates’ current offering.
But some of the moderates are seeing the writing on the wall:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) suggested Wednesday that he would back President Donald Trump’s immigration plan, potentially giving the White House bipartisan support during a key test vote on the floor.
Given the high likelihood that a Republican amendment codifying Trump’s four-part immigration framework will fall short of the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate, Manchin’s potential support amounts to a free “yes” vote for one of Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents heading into the November midterms. Manchin opposed the president’s proposals to repeal Obamacare and cut taxes, even as he prepares to run for reelection in a state the president carried by 42 percentage points.
If Grassley’s bill survives today’s vote, it is probably going to be the bill that becomes law. If it doesn’t, everyone has an issue for November.