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House GOP circles immigration breakthrough

House Republicans were on the verge of an immigration breakthrough Thursday, moderate lawmakers and sources said Thur...

Posted: Jun 8, 2018 1:37 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2018 1:37 PM

House Republicans were on the verge of an immigration breakthrough Thursday, moderate lawmakers and sources said Thursday -- but only after the details are finalized and put on paper can the parties actually see if they agree.

For now, that progress seemed to buy GOP leaders more time before an immigration civil war erupts -- at least until next week.

The leaders of the effort that has been triggering weeks of intense negotiations -- a procedural maneuver that would force immigration to the floor and bypass party leadership -- said that conservatives had put forward a proposal to them that would include a "bridge" for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and those like them to eventually gain citizenship, which has been the most difficult part of negotiations to date.

The proposal would create a new visa, moderate California Rep. Jeff Denham confirmed to reporters, and would offset the numbers of new legal residents by "combining" other visa categories -- likely eliminating some and reallocating the visas to cover the new category. There would be an eight-year process toward eventually getting a green card, Denham said.

But, he added, the devil is in the details.

RELATED: Who has signed the DACA discharge petition

"I don't think you can have any agreement until you see it in writing," Denham said.

But he said the key negotiators Wednesday night had a "productive conversation" that extended into a full GOP conference meeting that lasted two hours Thursday morning.

"Now it's a matter of putting it on paper and seeing if we actually have an agreement," Denham said. "But those of us in the meeting accepted what they were offering."

Still, others were quick to pour water on the emerging plan on the issue of citizenship for DACA-covered immigrants -- young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

"No deal," said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows.

"No. I don't see a deal yet," said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "I see a lot of people talking, getting around the area they want to focus on, the four corners and stuff, but no one has said there is a deal yet."

As the details are hashed out, moderates have hit pause on signatures for what is known as a discharge petition, the moderates' attempt to bypass GOP leaders and force a set of immigration votes on the House floor. The procedural maneuver is just three signatures short of succeeding, including two Republicans.

Denham's partner in the effort, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said he expects House leadership to draft text of the emerging compromise in the next few days.

"The next two or three days will be decisive in terms of whether or not people keep their word and support this framework that is fairly detailed," Curbelo said. "There's still some blanks to be filled but it's fairly detailed right now. If people keep their word and support it, I think there's a potential that we don't proceed with the discharge petition."

But, he added: "If there's no agreement, then we're going to proceed."

A GOP leadership aide says that talks continue and there remains no actual "deal" or "plan" even if some agreements on pieces are being reached in theory. The aide also confirmed leadership is "coordinating" the process of getting agreements into legislative text.

Encouraged members

The reason moderates are optimistic about progressing negotiations, two sources close to the process said, is that the idea for the special visa came from conservative Freedom Caucus member Rep. Raul Labrador.

Meadows, however, said if Labrador is making offers, they are not on behalf of the Freedom Caucus.

Asked about reports that he offered the visa suggestion, Labrador said he would not get into the negotiations.

"I do not believe in a special pathway to citizenship, I have never talked about a special pathway to citizenship and I would never agree to a special pathway to citizenship," Labrador said.

But, the sources also cautioned, the specifics regarding who would qualify for the visa and what the thresholds would be remain key details to be worked out before a deal is reached. And the broader conference would have to accept the proposal once it is hammered out.

Multiple meetings

The progress came after House GOP members spent two hours behind closed doors huddling Thursday morning, a rare full-party confab on the issue of immigration.

Inside the meeting, according to multiple members leaving, House Speaker Paul Ryan and leadership started off by presenting some general options and ideas to the full conference, but then opened the floor to input. Ryan largely stuck to the President's areas of concern that he has articulated previously, and described different ideas to get there that have come from weeks of negotiation. And, as he tends to do, he used PowerPoint, members confirmed.

No one described reaching a consensus or plan, but still described the meeting as a productive exchange of ideas.

"If I knew what would get 218 Republican votes today, it would be on the floor," said Meadows, referring to the majority threshold in the House. "Obviously, there's not something today that would get 218 votes on the floor."

Meadows continued: "The pathway to citizenship remains still the thorniest issue that we have to deal with."

Also in the meeting was White House legislative aide Marc Short, who did not speak, according to Rep. Mark Walker, R-North Carolina. Members, including Walker and Denham, have said they have been in touch with White House aides including Short and top adviser Stephen Miller.

Still, moderates who support the discharge petition are hopeful the issue will be resolved.

"We're only three signatures away, but it's like the last two minutes of a football game," said Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "It just goes on forever."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314147

Reported Deaths: 7244
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21587258
Hinds20339415
Harrison17899309
Rankin13599278
Jackson13443246
Madison10092217
Lee9971174
Jones8373163
Forrest7677152
Lauderdale7187241
Lowndes6391146
Lamar622986
Lafayette6187118
Washington5332134
Bolivar4800132
Oktibbeha462598
Panola4581107
Pearl River4511146
Marshall4436103
Warren4387121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4109133
Union410376
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock379286
Leflore3495125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3321105
Scott315773
Alcorn312868
Yazoo311469
Itawamba300177
Copiah296865
Coahoma295279
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Adams284682
Prentiss279760
Marion269080
Leake267873
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259381
George248048
Newton246461
Winston227081
Tishomingo226767
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182633
Tallahatchie178641
Clarke177980
Calhoun170632
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126842
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105326
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96633
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67231
Jefferson65628
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531751

Reported Deaths: 10997
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson766021528
Mobile41061805
Madison34820505
Tuscaloosa25801453
Montgomery24348589
Shelby23465249
Baldwin21170309
Lee15887171
Calhoun14515316
Morgan14315279
Etowah13849353
Marshall12239223
Houston10575281
Elmore10062205
Limestone9980151
Cullman9697194
St. Clair9671243
Lauderdale9437241
DeKalb8843187
Talladega8231176
Walker7244277
Autauga6928108
Jackson6815112
Blount6680137
Colbert6307134
Coffee5521119
Dale4845111
Russell442538
Chilton4302112
Franklin426382
Covington4131118
Tallapoosa4026152
Escambia393677
Chambers3575123
Dallas3555152
Clarke351061
Marion3126101
Pike311077
Lawrence300498
Winston274473
Bibb261264
Geneva251077
Marengo249564
Pickens234561
Barbour231456
Hale223177
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry188944
Cherokee185245
Randolph180642
Monroe177840
Washington167639
Macon159750
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142735
Lowndes138953
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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