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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.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds215239
DeSoto137316
Madison122234
Jones106949
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Rankin84112
Forrest81442
Scott75015
Harrison7448
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Jackson53316
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Washington4969
Lee49316
Oktibbeha48624
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Warren44317
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Lamar4197
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Monroe36729
Pike36712
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Lafayette3524
Newton3289
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Covington3025
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Panola2706
Adams26718
Chickasaw25918
Tate2577
Jasper2506
Marion24811
Pontotoc2476
Noxubee2458
Pearl River24432
Winston2435
Clay24210
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Simpson2303
Smith20611
Clarke20124
Marshall2013
Coahoma1866
Kemper17614
Union1759
Walthall1724
Yalobusha1617
Carroll16011
Lawrence1591
Itawamba1278
Calhoun1244
Humphreys1239
Tippah12311
Webster12310
Montgomery1222
Hancock12013
Jefferson Davis1064
Tallahatchie1043
Prentiss983
Greene927
Jefferson923
Wilkinson919
Tunica893
Amite822
George743
Choctaw714
Quitman680
Tishomingo681
Perry614
Alcorn561
Stone521
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena71
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
Etowah62513
Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
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Lamar711
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Clay582
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Cleburne291
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