Following the Senate’s failure to pass legislation providing protections for “Dreamers” Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on his colleagues to get past partisan bickering and come to a consensus on an immigration plan the president is willing to sign.
While Senate Republican leadership initially called for a close of debate on immigration by the end of the week, the Kentucky Republican said if lawmakers manage to construct legislation that can garner the 60 votes needed to send the measure to the House he will bring the bill to the floor.
“I encourage members to put away the talking points and get serious about finding a solution that can actually become law. I remain eager to improve our immigration policy,” McConnell said on the floor following the failure of four immigration bills. “If a solution is developed in the future that can pass both the House and the Senate and be signed into law by the president, it should be considered. But for that to happen, Democrats will need to take a second look at these core elements of necessary reform.”
McConnell noted he made good on his promise to allow for free and open debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after Democrats blocked a short-term government funding bill earlier this year citing the lack of a DACA deal.
Despite senators overwhelmingly voting in favor of opening debate on the matter Monday, talks were stalled early in the week after Democrats refused to allow a vote on an amendment introduced by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania pertaining to sanctuary cities.
“I thought we might be able to resolve this. I was hoping we could reach a bipartisan solution that could pass the Senate, pass the House, and earn President Trump’s signature,” McConnell continued. “But once again, when the hour came to actually make law instead of just making political points, my friends across the aisle were either unable or unwilling to get something done. After all that talk, they hardly came to the table at all.”
McConnell said while Republicans didn’t accomplish their goal, it “does not have to be the end of our efforts to resolve these matters.”
House Republican leadership is currently whipping a conservative-backed immigration bill — which provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, allocates funding for increased border protections and a wall along the southern border, eliminates the visa lottery system and limits chain migration — spearheaded by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. If the bill makes it through the lower chamber, it’s unlikely to pass the Senate.