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: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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