A bipartisan group of “moderates” of the Senate have a proposal to break the impasse in the Senate on immigration and the Trump Shutdown. Central to is is “a commitment for a separate vote on legislation to put into law a program that protects from deportation some of the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.” Because we all know what Mitch McConnell’s commitments are worth.
As the meeting finished, Democratic Senators Chris Coons and Joe Manchin said they were going to take the proposal to Chuck Schumer, the party’s leader in the Senate, while Republican members of the of the group were headed to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We recognize that ultimately the decision” will be up to McConnell and Schumer, Republican Senator Susan Collins said.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that if McConnell makes a commitment to bring up immigration legislation there probably will be enough votes to extend government funding through Feb. 8
Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, called their plan “constructive.”
“They are anxious to find a solution and I’m hopeful,” Durbin said. “If enough Republicans join them, they could be a force to bring this to the right ending.”
Except for the part where they have to rely on McConnell and Trump. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), along with Graham, have been key in pushing this. And they’d better be asking for more than just a promise from McConnell because they were so recently duped by him on the tax bill. Remember that? When Collins and Flake traded their tax bill votes for “written assurances” that McConnell would really bring up Obamacare stabilization bill and immigration reform. Collins is in the delegation presenting the plan to McConnell. If she comes out that meeting with no vote scheduled but a “promise” from McConnell that he’ll get to that right away, everyone should remember the tax bill.
Meanwhile, Graham says he’s been in touch with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who told him “don’t bind the House” on immigration. That would be the same Ryan sent a spending bill over the Senate, written basically by the Freedom Caucus, that he knew could not pass the Senate. Since McConnell refuses to do to Ryan what Ryan did to him—stick him with a bill he can’t pass with just Republican votes—a breakthrough now seems unlikely.
As it stands, the Senate is scheduled to vote at 1:00 AM ET Monday morning for basically the same bill that has already failed, just a week shorter.