The U.S. Senate will vote this week on President Donald Trump’s offer to extend protections for young immigrants in exchange for funding for his border wall.
Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has agreed to bring the proposal to the floor of the House for a vote, despite generally refusing to allow votes on legislation which is unlikely to become law.
According to the New York Times, McConnell is planning to combine the proposal with legislation that has already been passed by House Democrats in order to try and secure its passage. David Popp, a spokesperson for McConnell, refused to confirm the plans on Sunday evening, only saying, “When we have [a plan] we will be sure to let everyone know.”
However, McConnell’s Chief of Staff appeared to confirm the plan. He is quoted by the Times as saying, “The legislation that the majority leader will bring to the floor this week would both reopen the remaining portions of the government, fund disaster relief, fund border security and address immigration issues that both Republicans and Democrats would like to address – all in one bill.”
McConnell is well known for bringing complicated legislation to the floor of the Senate, but it still seems unlikely he will be able to get this proposal to pass. New laws need to reach a 60-vote threshold to advance from the Senate, but Republican’s only hold a 53-47 majority.
It is also not clear whether McConnell will allow a broader debate on immigration in which senators from both parties could propose amendments to Trump’s proposals. If he did, it is possible (although highly unlikely) that an acceptable compromise could be reached to end the government shutdown.
In an effort to break the impasse over funding for Trump’s flagship border wall, which has led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, the President gave a speech on Saturday in which he offered a deal to Democrats in Congress opposed to the wall.
He offered to extend protections for young immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, commonly known as Dreamers, and those who are fleeing disaster zones for an additional three years. That would ensure they could stay in the U.S. until 2021, after the next Presidential election. But in exchange for that offer, he wants the full $5.7 billion funding package to build his border wall.
Congressional Democrats have rejected his proposal, describing it as “hostage-taking”. Senior Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters on Sunday, “If he opens up the government, we’ll discuss whatever he offers, but hostage-taking should not work. It’s very hard to negotiate when a gun is held to your head.”