The Senate’s unfinished fiscal 2018 spending legislation will not be melded with an immigration reform measure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
McConnell, R-Ky., said lawmakers will try to negotiate legislation in the coming weeks to protect so-called Dreamers and install new border security and immigration enforcement provisions.
McConnell formally rejected a push by Democrats to link it to the must-pass government spending bill that faces a Jan. 19 deadline.
McConnell promised to bring up a bill that addresses the Dreamers and border security measures that President Trump would sign, “and it will not be part of any overall spending agreement.”
Democrats have been hoping to usher through permanent protection for Dreamers, immigrants who arrived here illegally as children, and attaching it to the spending bill would give the party leverage.
But Republicans have remained staunchly opposed to the move and it appears dead for now.
The House and Senate are negotiating the two bills separately and it is increasingly likely a third stop-gap spending bill will be needed to stave off a partial government shutdown when current temporary spending authority expires on January 19.
Lawmakers have until March 5 to pass the legislation protecting the Dreamers.
That is when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which protects them from deportation will expire.