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DACA talks hinge on Trump

Leaders of Congress will sit down with key White House staff on Wednesday, and negotiations on immigration policy cou...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 1:13 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 1:13 PM

Leaders of Congress will sit down with key White House staff on Wednesday, and negotiations on immigration policy could hang in the balance.

As the Senate comes back Wednesday and the House is set to follow next week, lawmakers are returning to their unfinished business that was punted at the end of last year -- including a potential deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Sources familiar with ongoing talks say there were no substantial developments over recess

The meeting Wednesday is designed to discuss a deal on budget caps

Sources familiar with ongoing talks say there were no substantial developments over recess, although senators working on negotiations did keep talking and several groups in the House left town with all-but-completed outlines that they opted to wait on rather than leave open to public attack over the break.

But even as negotiations have been making progress, lawmakers have felt President Donald Trump's personal buy-in has remained elusive and, yet, the key to any ultimate deal.

The meeting Wednesday is designed to discuss a deal on budget caps on domestic and military spending with the White House legislative chief and director of the Office of Management and Budget. But Democrats have insisted that any spending deal correspond with resolving DACA -- an Obama administration program that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, which Trump has elected to end.

Trump himself has sent mixed signals to Congress on a deal. When he decided to end the program in September, with a six-month buffer before the bulk of the two-year permits begin expiring, Trump urged Congress to act and praised recipients of DACA as "good, educated and accomplished young people."

Over the holidays, though, Trump demanded that any deal must include his border wall, cuts to family-based migration, ending the diversity lottery, "etc.," he added. On Tuesday, he claimed Democrats were "doing nothing" to save the program that he is terminating and insisted that DACA advocates would come to favor Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to hold a vote on an immigration deal if one is reached before January 31.

Negotiations but no breakthroughs

Before Congress left for the holidays, a hodgepodge of groups had been making progress on putting DACA into law along with some border security and immigration enforcement measures.

Senate talks led by Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Lindsey Graham, which include Republicans Jeff Flake, Cory Gardner, James Lankford and Thom Tillis and Democrat Michael Bennet, are the most substantial discussions, with the more conservative members among the group in touch with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

On the House side, a handful of Republican members from Speaker Paul Ryan's immigration working group -- though not some key moderate members -- had a meeting at the White House the Tuesday before Christmas as they craft a conservative proposal for release. That meeting included Reps. Mike McCaul, Bob Goodlatte, Raul Labrador, Martha McSally and Mark Meadows, according to a source familiar and first reported by Politico. But the product of that conservative effort is likely to be a starting point in negotiations that will be immediately rejected by Democrats.

Other bipartisan efforts were making progress before the break, including the Problem Solvers Caucus and efforts by Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Texas Rep. Will Hurd in communication with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. But as it became clear no deal would make it to the floor in December, negotiators opted to hold off on publicly releasing any compromises.

And House leadership on both sides has yet to endorse any of the efforts, leaving it unclear which might have legs.

Trump key

The key players all have eyes on Wednesday's meeting as a sign of where Trump might be on the issue.

Throughout the process, lawmakers have felt that the President could make the deal-making easier -- or more difficult -- with a single tweet.

While negotiators hope that if they're able to reach a deal, Trump will be happy to sign something and consider it a victory, there is also a fear that Trump could publicly criticize the deal and scuttle hopes for a compromise.

Republicans who are eager to help the sympathetic population of young immigrants, most of whom have known no other country than America, have hoped that the President will provide them with cover to vote for a deal by coming out in vocal support of it. But hardliners on the President's staff, like close aide Stephen Miller, have generated policy priorities from the White House that are filled with aggressive policies that Democrats -- whose votes will be necessary to pass anything -- consider poison pills.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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After such a unseasonably cool, dry start to your Wednesday, temperatures will heat up pretty quickly. Humidity remains relatively low, keeping rain out of the forecast. But it does return quickly into late-week, ramping rain chances up as we approach the weekend.
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