Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back against claims from Sen. Jeff Flake that he had promised to bring a bill to the Senate floor to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program deadline if a federal government spending bill got done.
“The way to find out what the President wants on DACA is to pass a bill, to bring a bill to the floor. And that is what the majority leader has now agreed to do,” Flake, an Arizona Republican, reportedly said when leaving the Capitol early Saturday morning. “Now whether that will be enough to bring more Democrats over by tomorrow, I don’t know.”
But McConnell spokesman David Popp said that’s not true.
“[A]s to how [McConnell] would choose to process potential legislation on the floor if those negotiations stall is still under discussion, so I don't have anything new to announce. We have made no decisions or announcements on floor consideration of border security/DACA, and the Leader remains committed to the ongoing, bipartisan, bicameral negotiations,” Popp said in an emailed statement to the Washington Examiner Saturday afternoon, the first official day of the government shutdown.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have put forth a proposal that would provide a path to citizenship to DACA recipients ahead of the March ending of the program. That effort has been backed by Flake.
The Senate reconvened Saturday at noon after lawmakers failed to reach the 60 votes needed to even end debate on the stopgap spending bill passed by the House late Friday night, resulting in the partial federal government shutdown.