With the Senate failing to make any headway on how to deal with the status of illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” lawmakers in the Congress went home for a ten day break Thursday with no clear path forward on the politically difficult issue of immigration, with a deadline to deal with DACA set by the President less than three weeks away.
“It’s safe to say, this has been a disappointing week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who repeatedly pointed the finger of blame over at Democrats for the lack of agreement in the Senate, as four different immigration plans were filibustered by both parties.
I was hoping we could reach a bipartisan solution,” McConnell added.
But the solution backed by McConnell and President Trump actually won the fewest votes in the Senate – just 39 – while a more limited bipartisan effort secured 54, short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.
“We’re not done with this,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who argues that the President’s plan is still the best course.
While Perdue told me that the two sides really aren’t that far apart, there were already GOP Senators looking for something else, with a March 5 deadline barely over the horizon.
“We have to do more work,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who voted for the main bipartisan plan, which netted 54 votes, 15 more than President Trump’s preferred option.
But in the President’s camp, there were some who simply said it was time to pull the plug on immigration and move on to other issues.
“We move on to confirming judges and banking reform,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of the more outspoken defenders of President Trump’s immigration plan, when asked what was next for the U.S. Senate.
The White House late on Thursday night threw cold water on the idea of any new legislative effort on DACA in the Senate, instead turning its attention to the House, where Republicans have put together a bill that contains even more immigration enforcement measures than what the President supported in the Senate.
“The next step will be for the House to continue advancing the proposal from Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman McCaul,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a written statement, as the White House blamed “Schumer Democrats” for the lack of action on DACA in the Senate.
The Goodlatte-McCaul bill though could face the same problems as the President’s did in the Senate – not having enough votes to get to a majority.
And as of now – that bill has not been scheduled for a vote in the House.