House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy assured the legislative fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program won’t be attached to an upcoming must-pass spending bill Monday, despite calls from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to link the two issues.
The California Republican said Democrats are aware and have agreed to DACA — the Obama-era initiative that extended temporary legal status to foreign nationals who illegally entered the country as minors — being taken care of in a stand-alone bill.
“No, they’re separate — they [Democrats] already know that they’re both separate,” McCarthy told The Daily Caller, noting he’s attending a bipartisan meeting on the issue at the White House Tuesday. “They know that — they agreed to that, too.”
While McCarthy is adamant DACA, which Congress has until March 5 to address, won’t be linked to government funding, Pelosi is pushing her party to vote against any funding measure before they have confirmation on an immigration bill they can support.
“We won’t sign off on DACA until we have a caps deal,” the House minority leader told Reuters, adding she thinks they can reach a bipartisan deal. “I do think the president sincerely would like to deal with DACA. I think … a large number of Republicans would vote for a DACA agreement.”
Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the upper chamber, told reporters Monday Democrats are “holding the whole spending bill hostage,” and doesn’t see how they can strike a comprehensive agreement on immigration ahead of their Jan 19 deadline, cautioning Congress may have to pass another stop-gap to dodge a government shutdown.
President Donald Trump’s call to include funding for a wall along the southern border in any immigration reform legislation also poses a problem for those looking for a bipartisan agreement, with Democrats calling the proposal a nonstarter.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake noted Republicans need 60 votes to pass DACA legislation in the Senate, meaning they will need at least a handful of Democrats to vote in favor of the measure they put forth.
“If the president wants to get a deal can get a deal, he can get a deal, but it’s not going to be worth throwing in the kitchen sink,” Flake told TheDC. “I’m all in for comprehensive — we just can’t do comprehensive before March 5.”