Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said two Republican senators are trying to undermine a bipartisan deal to address the pending expiration of a program impacting immigrants who come to the country as children.
The Illinois Democrat said he is working with GOP members on a compromise solution to avoid the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump set into motion earlier this year.
“I’m in the middle of negotiations myself with several Republican senators and we’re making progress. But there’s a separate effort by Sens. Grassley and Cornyn to slow down or stop this effort,” he said. “They want to stack up everything on their wish list on immigration and put it on the shoulders of the ... dreamers.”
Grassley said no bipartisan deal currently exists for him to undermine.
“There hasn’t been any negotiation yet. When we sit down and actually negotiate, and Durbin wants to negotiate, then we can reach an agreement,” he said.
A Senate GOP aide also said a government shutdown “won’t solve the problem, and by threatening to do so Sen. Durbin only further jeopardizes the fate of these young folks.”
“We hope he’ll take a deep breath and come back to the negotiating table,” the aide said.
Democrats are pushing to add a DACA fix to a year-end spending vehicle, something Trump and GOP leaders have opposed. A bipartisan deal is expected to include a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and enhanced border security measures.
While Senate Republican leadership was initially pushing a two-week CR, negotiations continued Tuesday as conservatives in the House pushed for a longer timeline.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer declined to comment on his support for either measure.
“Let’s see how it all looks,” the New York Democrat said.