And So It Begins: Mitch McConnell Kicks Off Free-For-All Senate Immigration Debate

Tonight is the night that all 535 of America's lawmakers have been dreading...

In keeping with his promise to call an open-ended debate on an immigration compromise bill should lawmakers fail to reach a compromise on their own, the Senate tonight will begin arguing about a bill that has no clear form or substance...

Senators are predicting a chaotic debate, according to the Hill. Tonight, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will call for debate on a shell bill that basically will allow lawmakers to bringing up any and every topic they'd like. And predictably, several different factions are working out their own plans, all hoping to be the leaders of the eventual compromise bill that makes it to President Trump's desk.

“It sounds like Senator McConnell’s just going to pull up a shell bill and let people have at it. ... It ought to be pretty fascinating,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), McConnell’s top deputy.

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Cornyn’s Democratic counterpart, predicted: “You’re going to hear as many variations as the fertile minds of my colleagues can produce.”

McConnell made his promise to secure the necessary Democratic votes to pass the bipartisan agreement to keep the government funded through March 23 while raising the debt limit and suspending spending caps that will open the door toward negotiations for a two-year budget deal.

* * *

So far, lawmakers have complained that the White House - which is ostensibly pro-DACA - has repeatedly shifted its position, making it impossible to negotiate or arrive at anything even remotely resembling a compromise that would be acceptable to Democrats.

For example, the so-called "Gang of Six" famously put forward a bipartisan proposal that included enshrining DACA protections in exchange for increased funding for border security - but crucially, it didn't include money for the wall, and so was panned by President Trump.

McConnell

Another group led by Maine moderate Susan Collins is calling itself the "Common Sense Coalition". They're focusing on a narrower solution than the "four pillars" that Trump and a group of bipartisan lawmakers reportedly agreed upon a few weeks ago. Those include: Wall funding, changes to family-based immigration and the visa lottery system, funding for border security and DACA protections.

But in a deliciously ironic twist, the Common Sense group says it has already begun drafting legislation, even though it hasn't finished working out the compromise. All Collins could say was that they've agreed to focus exclusively on two of Trump's coveted four pillars...

This group of more than 20 senators, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine), has begun drafting legislative text. But it still hasn’t reached a consensus about what it could support.

“I think we’re getting pretty close on coming up with a proposal that may or may not be offered next week,” Collins told reporters after the group’s last closed-door session. “There will probably be more than one [amendment offered] but it’s too early to tell right now.”

Senators in the group have focused on a narrower solution that would break from the “four pillars” strategy that Trump and a bipartisan group of lawmakers initially agreed to.

Some members would like to issue a broader proposal - but they worry the more they try to tack on, the harder it will be to pass.

Members haven’t ruled out trying to broaden their proposals, but warn that the more they try to tack on the harder it could be to get a bill that can pass the Senate.

"If we can stay focused on those two, I think we can get to 60. The challenge is there are lots of other problems that both the White House and other members want to do," said Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), a member of the group.

Another divide is that some Democrats are continuing to fight for protections to be extended to the parents of so-called "Dreamers." Many GOP lawmakers are wary of granting protected status for people who entered the country illegally, which could give them an advantage over immigrants who entered the United States at the same time.

Amidst the chaos, Trump has continued to blame Democrats over the weekend for the the inability to get a DACA deal, saying they would rather "use it as a campaign issue."

 

 

Despite the flurry of closed-door meetings and the variety of plans that are gestating, lawmakers remain divided and there's still unclear how the Senate will manage to pass a bill before the March 5 deadline - to say nothing of the House, per Politico.

That's because Speaker Paul Ryan has insisted he will only bring up a bill that is supported by Trump, who has repeatedly shot down compromise plans. That stirs up uncomfortable memories of a 2013 comprehensive immigration bill passed the Senate only to die in the House without ever receiving a vote.

Given that the debate over a permanent solution is so fraught, at least one lawmaker - Sen. Jeff Flake - is working on a backup that will extend DACA protections for three years while also increasing border security funding.

Indeed, in a rare burst of honesty, Sen. Lindsey Graham joked that he hopes Congress can pull a “white rabbit out of its hat” but predicted that the most likely outcome is kicking the fight down the road.

"If I were betting man … I’d always bet on Congress to punt," he said. "I just hope we don’t punt on first down. I hope we at least go to fourth down before we punt."

We wouldn't take the other side of that bet...

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Comments

toady Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:42 Permalink

Delicious.

The wall v the dreamers...

Don't care about either one, but I hope Don is gonna sneak some restrictions in...

nah, just enforce what's already on the books.

(Like that'll ever happen!)

Beam Me Up Scotty toady Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

The only reason I can see that you would let people flood into this country illegally, is to create VOTERS.  Voters who are hooked on government checks.  Voters who are able to do nothing but vote for the party who will give them the MOST.  Give the Dreamers citizenship, I don't care.  But seal the border up tight.  NO ONE ELSE COMES IN FOR FREE DINNER!!

In reply to by toady

two hoots caconhma Mon, 02/12/2018 - 18:38 Permalink

companies that need speciality/qualified workers should pay housing and med and insure adequate pay so they are self sustaining.   Citizenship after X years as they pass through levels of qualification dates. No cost to us.

All else must have adequate savings, income and have no medical or social requirements that could be transferred to taxpayers.

Trump, Stop bombing the shit out of people and maybe they will stay home?

In reply to by caconhma

Croesus onewayticket2 Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:58 Permalink

How about you worthless shitbags put an end to "anchor babies"?

No other country on Earth allows this bullshit (that I'm aware of).

Disclosure:

I'm the son of a naturalized citizen mother, and I DO NOT support "illegal aliens", especially not since the benefits accorded to illegal aliens seem to exceed the RIGHTS of people who do things in accordance to the laws YOU PEOPLE enacted.

So do something useful, or else get out of the way so other people can.

In reply to by onewayticket2

MK ULTRA Alpha DisorderlyConduct Mon, 02/12/2018 - 19:21 Permalink

They're Obama Youth, it's the same as Vietcong.  The whole Dreamer movement, Opening the Borders for more unaccompanied minors was for Obama's communist army. Obama made speeches in his first term about building a civilian army. Only those on the inside like Bill Ayers Weather Underground hard core communist branch from the 60's, Obama's close associate, only the tight group of communist in the White House knew what Obama meant by creating a communist Liberation Front style army of people of color, not born in the US, but trained and indoctrinated by communist with a touch of Reverend Wrights hate whitey theology.

The Obama plan was to take care of these kids with benefits, like food stamps, housing, medical care and education to condition them to vote communist and when the armed struggle came, provide an army of color for Obama's war on whites.

Who has ever heard of encouraging unaccompanied foreign minors to invade your bankrupt highly in debt country and provide them a swimming pool country club at the border to encourage more minors to invade. Then provide US government money to all kinds of shady communist groups to feed, house, medical care and force their education cost on the country, then find out most of them are not in school and many are dangerous drug cartel hit kids, killing our kids in school.

thank you Obama.

 

In reply to by DisorderlyConduct

JRobby Beam Me Up Scotty Mon, 02/12/2018 - 17:20 Permalink

Yes. But there is an effect where they take jobs and suppress wages. Then the argument is made that they are taking jobs that American's won't do. The old chicken or the egg. Over the long run, and this has been going on for a long time, the sheer numbers have kept wages low as many of them do take jobs, in some cases for less than some Americans will work for. Offshoring occurred as illegal immigration was accelerating. This was done on purpose to break Americans.

It is the extended time frame of lack of enforcement that is the issue. There needs to be "forced correction"

In reply to by Beam Me Up Scotty

CRM114 JRobby Mon, 02/12/2018 - 18:31 Permalink

that Americans won't do?

Not that rubbish again. Jobs American won't do for one of three reasons - the pay's bad, their boss is an a-hole, or they are getting so much free money they don't need to work. Whichever it is, is a problem that needs solving for Americans, not solving by importing labor.

In reply to by JRobby

Endgame Napoleon Beam Me Up Scotty Mon, 02/12/2018 - 20:44 Permalink

RepubliCON socialists have already doubled child-tax-credit welfare beyond the $6,444 max, including for illegal immigrants who drive down wages and hours, working part time to stay below the earned-income limit for pay-per-birth monthly welfare that covers their rent and groceries and the cut off for the child tax credits, when they are not working under-the-table. The USA, a nation with decreasing tax revenue, wastes $116 billion in yearly expenditures on illegal immigrants, losing $28 billion in remittances to Mexico alone. 

If Swampers vote in another mass amnesty, they can expect Moore-level turnout from Deplorables in the mid terms. Any inroads pro-amnesty RepubliCONs make in the immigrant community by competing with Democrats to pander to illegal aliens will not be made up by the number of disillusioned legal immigrants and other Deplorables lost. The “giant sucking sound of jobs moving across the border” and lost to illegals will not be drowned out by the GOPe and Democrat pander party. 

 

In reply to by Beam Me Up Scotty

j0nx toady Mon, 02/12/2018 - 18:04 Permalink

These fucking rinos can’t wait to bend over and bare their oiled buttocks for the Dems. They love to lose. They will give away the entire farm to the Dems with nothing in return if left to their own devices. Hope trumps resolve is strong because he will get little support from anyone outside of the freedom caucus. 

In reply to by toady

lester1 Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:44 Permalink

1. Send the US Army based in Texas to temporarily secure the border while the wall gets built!

 

2. End NAFTA immediately and slap tariffs of goods made in Mexico to pay for the wall. Doing so can pay for the wall in just 1 year !!!

 

3. Dreamers can stay and work. But no citizenship.

Endgame Napoleon shankster Mon, 02/12/2018 - 20:53 Permalink

If it is anything like my state, when the mothers of their US-born children come to the Department of Human Services to get $450 per month on average in free groceries among other freebies, they submit proof of [traceable] income that keeps them below the earned-income limit for the pay-per-birth welfare programs that cover their major household bills. When not working completely under the table, illegal alien parents have a special tax number to collect their refundable child tax credit that, at $6,444, used to equal 3 months of wages for the many non-welfare-eligible Texas citizens, struggling to live on earned-only income, until recently doubled by Swampers. 

In reply to by shankster

Endgame Napoleon serotonindumptruck Mon, 02/12/2018 - 21:02 Permalink

With all the crocodile tears of Democrats on the issue of kids, how about this one: a 13-year-old citizen of this country, killed by an illegal alien with multiple arrests. The kid was just walking with his friend, when he was struck by this illegal alien, maimed and killed, but not before he pushed his friend out of harm’s way. 

https://www.google.com/amp/www.breitbart.com/radio/2018/02/03/angel-mom…

This is one of the many horrific tragedies that did not have to occur. This happened because, while citizens are subject to the law, illegal aliens are not held to the law, especially when they reproduce after illegal border crossings, after which they fall into the above-criticism category of “working family.”

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

wren Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:45 Permalink

DC debates, like DC investigations. By the time the debate ends, the lawmakers will have no clue what the original debate was about.