President Trump and Senate Republicans agreed Wednesday to not attach a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to a government funding bill that will be needed by Dec. 8.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday afternoon any fix for DACA would not come before February. Cornyn was one of seven senators who met with the president at the White House earlier in the day.
“This is not going to be part of the year-end omnibus,” Cornyn said.
It's not yet clear that there will be an omnibus bill that allows spending for the rest of the fiscal year by December. Some lawmakers have said another short-term continuing resolution will be passed in December to give Congress a few more months to work out a final bill.
Democrats have been pushing for legislation to create a new DACA program, after President Trump said he would rescind the program in March of 2018. The program gives nearly 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children the ability to work and stay in the U.S., but Republicans say that kind of program should have been created by legislation, not unilaterally by President Obama.
Some Senate Democrats have speculated about the idea of holding up the spending bill needed in December if it doesn't include a DACA proposal. But Democratic leaders haven't endorsed that strategy yet.
Cornyn said the absence of a DACA fix this year doesn’t heighten the chance of a shutdown, but warned that Democrats would be held responsible for it if it happened.
On the Republican side, the GOP has been pushing for meaningful border security measures to be in any bill that includes a DACA fix, and don't want it as part of a spending deal.
“They shouldn’t. They should have border security provisions attached to that DACA fix,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. “Democrats all say they want to secure the border. Here’s their time to actually take some reasonable measures to secure the border.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who also attended the meeting at the White House, said there would be a Republican bill forthcoming that would include border security measures.
“That will be a good starting point,” Graham said. “I think it’ll have strong border security, it will have legal extensions for the DACA kids, and everything in between.”
“I’m agnostic on that as long as we get it done," Graham said about tackling DACA after figuring out the spending deal.