Monday, 16 July, 2018

Trump says GOP lawmakers 'wasting their time'

Newsroom Republicans scramble as public outcry peaks Fearful of voter reaction in November, GOP lawmakers meet North Coast Senator denounces immigration policy separating children from families
Lisa Bryan | 22 June, 2018, 18:53

White House and congressional officials said Trump was referring to family separation language that GOP leadership plans to add to a compromise immigration bill when he referenced making "changes" to the legislation.

Republicans have never been able to pass a big immigration overhaul on their own, despite talking about the issue for years. Those defections - almost 1 in 5 GOP lawmakers - underscored the party's chasm over immigration and the election-year pressures Republicans face to stay true to districts that range from staunchly conservative to pro-immigrant. That compromise was considered too lenient by some conservatives and seemed likely to faIl, too, and aides said the final roll call would wait till Friday.

Members of Congress are set to vote on new United States immigration measures but President Donald Trump has suggested Republicans' plans could be doomed.

Similar to the executive order Trump signed Wednesday, it mandates that families be detained together while adults go through criminal proceedings.

Almost 2,000 minors have been separated from their families since Sessions announced the policy in April.

With control of the House - and potentially the Senate - up for grabs, the searing images coming from the border have the potential to scramble midterm politics. I'd invite them to come to the White House any time they want.

And in a tweet that seemed to undermine House leaders' efforts to round up votes, he questioned the goal of their legislation by suggesting it was doomed in the Senate anyway. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said his department will start reuniting detained immigrant children with their parents - but he made no specific commitment on how quickly that can be accomplished.

First lady Melania Trump traveled to the Texas border town of McAllen on Thursday to take part in briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for undocumented immigrant children, her office said. "I was not put in a freezing cell".

Two of the top U.S. business groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, decried the separation policy on Tuesday and called for its immediate cessation. Instead of giving initial approval for $24.8 billion spread over the next five years, the legislation said it would open the door to $24.8 billion "for each" of the next five years.

Last month, the administration publicly announced its decision to charge every adult caught crossing the border illegally with federal crimes, as opposed to referring those with children mainly to immigration courts, as previous administrations did.


The second was a compromise between GOP moderates and the party's conservatives that included an opportunity for citizenship for the young immigrants.

The first bill would have provided almost $25 billion for a border wall, made steep cuts to legal immigration programs, and provided temporary legal status for young people brought into the country as children. Both were drafted with no input from Democrats. Images of toddlers crying behind chain-link fences, and reports of federal agents taking infants and young children to distant states, forced a rare retreat from the White House. "It may be a compromise with the devil but it is not a compromise with Democrats".

Even before votes began, Trump complicated GOP efforts to round up votes.

But multiple House Republicans say they don't believe that either bill can pass, even after President Trump told GOP members he would support them on immigration.

But then he tweeted on Thursday that whatever passed in the House was surely dead in the Senate because Republicans have just 51 votes, not almost enough to clear the 60-vote threshold to get past a Democratic filibuster.

"When countries abuse us by sending people up - not their best - we're not going to give any more aid to those countries", he said. It takes 60 votes to end filibusters.

Trump signed the executive order after days of protests from across the political spectrum, including Republican lawmakers who expressed concerns about their re-election prospects, according to current and former administration officials.

Ryan also complained that Congress is dysfunctional without deadlines, and after the Supreme Court earlier this year essentially delayed the need for a vote on a DACA resolution until after the midterm elections, there was no urgency to act on Capitol Hill. That's why Rep. Tom McClintock of California said he voted against the bill, saying that subsidies lead to higher prices for consumers and inefficiencies in the marketplace with gluts of some commodities and shortages of others. Those defections - almost 1 in 5 GOP lawmakers - underscored the party's chasm over immigration and the election-year pressures Republicans face to stay true to districts that range from staunchly conservative to pro-immigrant.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said Thursday evening they would keep trying to find consensus on the legislation. It did so by eliminating the 20-day cap on holding minors and allowing indefinite detentions. The administration is not ending its "zero tolerance" approach to border prosecutions. Conservatives have argued that the issue of immigration was a driving force in Trump's 2016 presidential victory and voters expect the party to follow through on the promise to enact more hard-line policies policing the Southwest border.

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