Saturday, May 18, 2024

Immigration debate begins today, but no clear vision of where its headed

The Senate begins a rare, open-ended debate on immigration and the fate of the DREAMers today, and Republican senators say they’ll introduce President Donald Trump’s plan. Though his proposal has no chance of passage, Trump may be the most influential voice in the conversation.

If the aim is to pass a legislative solution, Trump will be a crucial and, at times, complicating player. His day-to-day turnabouts on the issue have confounded Democrats and Republicans and led some to urge the White House to minimize his role in the debate.

Yet his ultimate support will be vital if Congress is to overcome election-year pressures against compromise. No Senate deal is likely to see the light of day in the more conservative House without the president’s blessing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scheduled an initial procedural vote for today evening to begin the debate. It is expected to succeed easily, and then the Senate will sort through proposals, perhaps for weeks.

There are several proposals but no certainty of which one will get enough votes; to prevail, any plan will need 60 votes, meaning support from both parties is necessary. Late last night, seven GOP senators introduced Trump’s framework, which they called a reasonable compromise but Democrats adamantly oppose it.

Other senators have even discussed finding a way to protect DREAMers for a year in exchange for a year’s worth of security money. Flake has said he’s working on a three-year version of that.

“I still think that if we put a good bill to the president, that has the support of 65, 70 members of the Senate, that the president will accept it and the House will like it as well,” Flake told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.