Back to square one…
Welp, that didn’t last very long. The Senate has ended its debate on immigration as the lawmakers have rejected BOTH proposals in front of them: one from President Donald Trump and the other from the bipartisan clique, the Common Sense Coalition.
The lawmakers rejected amendments from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DL) and another one from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 15, 2018
The Senate GOP devoted this whole week to immigration and really wanted to get something out there before they leave for President’s Day recess next week.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The final tally on the bipartisan plan, seen as the proposal with the best chances in the Senate, was 54 in favor, and 45 opposed. The bill needed 60 votes to proceed.
Next up was a vote on a bill reflecting Mr. Trump’s plan. That proposal garnered just 39 votes in favor, and 60 against. Votes on two other immigration amendments failed earlier.
McCain and Coons had a small deal that did not include border wall funding, but that failed 52-47. Toomey’s amendment was a security cities measure and that lost 54-45.
Trump’s plan, which found approval from the GOP leadership among others, had four pillars: citizenship for the 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to America at a young age by their parents, border security, ending the diversity visa lottery, and ending chain migration. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) sponsored Trump’s measure:
The Grassley bill would provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, end the visa lottery program, build a border wall and severely limit what he calls “chain migration,” which is family-based immigration. It would also increase the use of radar and tower-based surveillance, sensors and drones mostly along the Southwest border, increase the number of border patrol officers and deploy the National Guard to help construct border fencing and operate some of the surveillance equipment.
Mr. Grassley said that in offering the young immigrants, known as Dreamers, a chance to become citizens, Mr. Trump had been “much more compassionate on a compromise than anybody thought.”
Trump pushed senators to oppose any proposal that did not contain those four points. The proposal from the bipartisan group only had two out of the four. From The New York Times:
The bipartisan measure, sponsored by eight Democrats, eight Republicans and one independent, would appropriate $25 billion for border security, including construction of the president’s proposed wall at the Mexican border, over a 10-year period — not immediately, as Mr. Trump demands.
It would also offer an eventual path to citizenship, over 10 to 12 years, for 1.8 million of the young undocumented immigrants, but would preclude them from sponsoring their parents to become citizens. It would make no changes to the diversity visa lottery system, which Mr. Trump wants to end.
Bloomberg reported that Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) did not see these votes at the end of the road. He believes the lawmakers “will have another opportunity to address dreamers, perhaps in a massive spending bill that must be passed by March 23.” He thinks they may extend protections for DACA members (remember, the DACA is set to expire on March 5) and include border security measures with it.
But in all honesty, who knows? If anything, these votes opened wounds in the GOP because they went after each other. A White House official chided Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the main people involved in the bipartisan proposal, calling him “an obstacle for those reforms.”
I don’t know which official this was, but Graham decided to lash out at White House aide Stephen Miller, claiming that as long as Trump allows Miller “and others to run the show down there, we’re never going to get anywhere.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) warned GOP lawmakers that voted on the bipartisan proposal that they “should be concerned for the electoral futures.”
Cotton has also fired back at Graham for going after Miller. (I must remind you, this is the Senate, not junior high).
Embarrassing for a senator to attack a staffer. No worse example of punching down & bullying someone who can’t defend himself.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 15, 2018
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