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White House chief of staff: Durbin-Graham bill wasn't inclusive enough

White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday defended the President's rejection last week of a bipartisan Senat...

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 8:13 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 8:13 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday defended the President's rejection last week of a bipartisan Senate immigration bill, saying it wasn't as inclusive as the President asked for.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol in between four back-to-back meetings on the issue with lawmakers, Kelly declined to answer whether he and staff had misguided the President, as Sens. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, alleged after their proposal was rejected.

The White House chief of staff criticized a bipartisan immigration bill proposed last week

John Kelly's criticism was that the the House and some key senators were not consulted

"That deal that came over was supposed to be two things: bipartisan and both sides of the Hill," Kelly said. "And it was bipartisan in the sense that there were several Democratic and Republican senators, but there were a number of other senators that had been involved in this from the beginning, (Sens. Tom) Cotton and (David) Perdue is an example, (Thom) Tillis from North Carolina, that were not consulted. And the House was not consulted at all."

Durbin and Graham crafted the bill with two other Republicans, Sens. Jeff Flake and Cory Gardner, and Democrats Sens. Michael Bennet and Robert Menendez. Tillis and Republican Sen. James Lankford had been meeting with the group but were not included in meetings after the new year over perceptions about lacking a sense of urgency. Cotton and Perdue are supporters of a hardline proposal to slash legal immigration supported by President Donald Trump.

Kelly said that in the meeting, where the President made the now-infamous "shithole countries" comment, Trump's sense was the Durbin-Graham bill "fell short."

"His sense was, two things. It fell short of certainly what he was looking for based on the Thursday conversation and other conversations," Kelly said. "But more to the point, it did not include all of the senators that have been involved in all of the discussions about DACA and certainly did not involve the House. And the President has said from the beginning, it's got to be bipartisan and unless it involves the House as well as the Senate, it's going to go down again as a bill that does not pass into law."

Kelly did not address the vulgar comments controversy, but one of the lawmakers Kelly met with, Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said in their moderate Republican meeting it came up "briefly" and it was acknowledged that "foul language" was used by multiple people at that meeting.

Kelly said Trump still wants a fix for the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, saying the termination of it "intentionally" left six months before its end, "so that there could be plenty of time for the United States Congress to actually talk to each other, both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Hill, talk to the White House, which they've done, and then actually come up with a bill that will pass both houses."

Kelly indicated that the President would want to protect current DACA recipients, and Curbelo said he was "very confident" that the President would accept including a path to citizenship after his meeting.

"The President that I work for wants 700,000 or so DACA recipients, the vast majority of whom are now adults, to have a way to stay in the United States legally," Kelly said. "He wants that. That's a given. But what we cannot have is a unprotected, unsecured southwest border that five, six, seven years from now, we have another group of 600 or 700,000 DACA people."

Kelly met on Wednesday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, followed by five moderate Republicans, followed by two leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and then went to meet with the bipartisan congressional No. 2's who are attempting to negotiate a deal.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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