Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell roasted Senate Democrats for stalling what they are claiming is a must-pass immigration bill, and for turning the immigration debate in the chamber into a partisan issue simply to score political points.
“The entire week has been set aside, as I assured it would be, for votes on the DACA issue, border security, and other issues pertaining to the subject of immigration. Wrapping up a lively week of at this point we should be debate, amendments, and numerous votes. That’s not what happened,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.
Senate Democrats shut down the federal government for three days in January in order to get a commitment on an immigration vote from McConnell. The majority leader was able to end the shutdown by promising Senate Democrats he will bring an immigration bill to the Senate floor before the end of February.
WATCH: Trump Endorses Pathway To Citizenship For DACA Recipients
“Instead we’re here on Thursday morning and have yet to vote on a single amendment. Not one amendment all week on what was offered, an open debate,” McConnell said. “Remember, our Democratic friends wanted this debate. Actually shut down the federal government for 300 million Americans unnecessarily to guarantee we could have this debate and at this particular time, this week. They spent months insisting DACA is a top priority for them and telling their constituents they’d do everything they could to resolve it,” McConnell said.
Senators started debating an immigration deal Tuesday, but have yet to reach to a final agreement. Senate lawmakers agreed Wednesday to move forward with a motion to proceed. At this point, senators can now offer up amendments to bill for a floor vote, but Democrats have yet to throw one out.
“All they’ve done so far is to slow the process as much as possible. It turns out they didn’t want a fair, open, free-wheeling amendment process after all,” McConnell said.
“Our Democratic friends say they want resolution for illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children. The president has put forward a framework that would do exactly that. His reasonable proposal offers a more than generous resolution for 1.8 million individuals in that category. But the DACA issue is just a symptom of our broken immigration system. So the president’s made clear, and I strongly agree that any legislation must also treat the root causes and reform legal immigration,” McConnell said.
The Senate is likely to vote Thursday evening on four different immigration proposals, although there is no clear path for any of the bills to make it past the chamber’s 60-vote threshold.
A bipartisan group of senators, known as the Common Sense Coalition, released a bill late Wednesday afternoon that grant 1.8 million young illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship and give $25 billion for the president’s long-promised border wall. While Democrats are likely to support the bill, it would take 11 Republicans to vote it for the it to pass under regular order.
The chamber is likely to vote on three GOP amendments offered to the shell bill.
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