President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should ‘make clear what he’s disputing’ MORE is expected to use his address Saturday afternoon to propose an immigration deal as part of a plan to secure border wall funding and reopen the federal government, according to multiple reports.
Axios and CNN reported that Trump is likely to offer passing the BRIDGE Act, which would extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients, as well as legislation extending the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in exchange for his requested $5.7 billion in border security funding.
Vice President Pence and White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump’s battle with Pelosi intensifies McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government More than Mueller: Senators must ask Barr about criminal justice policy MORE led the formation of the proposed deal, according to Axios.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on Saturday.
Trump has teased a “major announcement” on Saturday afternoon as the White House and congressional Democrats remain dug in over the shutdown, which hit the 29-day mark on Saturday.
In a sign that Trump’s proposal is unlikely to break the weeks-long shutdown logjam, Democrats preemptively panned the offer and noted the White House hadn’t reached out to them ahead of time.
“Democrats were not consulted on this and have rejected similar overtures previously. It’s clearly a non serious product of negotiations amongst White House staff to try to clean up messes the president created in the first place. POTUS is holding more people hostage for his wall,” said a Democratic aide.
The White House has tried, unsuccessfully, to drive a wedge between moderate lawmakers and Democratic leadership.
They would need to win over at least seven Democratic senators if every Republican voted for their plan. But Democrats have shown no signs of breaking from Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump blasts Pelosi for wanting to leave country during shutdown The Senate should host the State of the Union Dem senators debate whether to retweet Cardi B video criticizing Trump over shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.), who is publicly urging Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTSA agents protest government shutdown at Pittsburgh airport The case for Russia sanctions Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE (R-Ky.) to reopen the government before they negotiate on the border demands.
Democratic senators, who appeared in the dark about what exactly Trump will offer, signaled on Saturday that they were standing by that demand.
Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate GOP blocks bill to reopen Homeland Security The Hill’s Morning Report — Nasty shutdown fight gets nastier DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown MORE (D-Va.), noting that he had heard contradictory rumors about what the president will say, said agreeing to take up a deal before the government is reopened “would accelerate the use of shutdown as a negotiating tool.”
“We’ve got to reopen the government first,” he told The Hill. “If we can get government reopen I’m absolutely convinced that there’s a deal here.”
Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDem senators debate whether to retweet Cardi B video criticizing Trump over shutdown Cardi B expresses solidarity with federal workers not getting paid Action on climate and energy: Beyond partisan talking points MORE (D-Hawaii) added in a tweet that “if we open up the government I am open to negotiations. But if we reward this behavior it will never end, and the pain and chaos will be worse in the future.”
About a quarter of the federal government has been shut down since Dec. 22 over Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion in funding to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The shutdown fight intensified this week when Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiOn The Money: Trump teases ‘major announcement’ Saturday on shutdown | Fight with Dems intensifies | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking trip to Afghanistan | Mnuchin refuses to testify on shutdown impacts Ellen DeGeneres buys cheesecakes from furloughed federal workers who were baking to make ends meet Trump teases ‘major announcement’ about shutdown on Saturday MORE (D-Calif.) urged Trump to put off his State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 29. Trump in turn prevented congressional delegations from traveling overseas on military flights during the shutdown.
Polls suggest that the majority of Americans blame the president for the shutdown, which has left 800,000 federal workers either furloughed or without pay.
Some Senate Republicans have floated the possibility of exchanging DACA protections for border wall money amid the stalled talks.
A bill with a similar deal fell flat in the House, with lawmakers saying that a deal to reopen the government by trading wall funding for immigration benefits for so-called Dreamers doesn’t stand a chance in the lower chamber.
Democrats have said they don’t trust Trump to keep his end of bargains, and are wary of negotiating a deal that could benefit those in the DACA program while harming other undocumented immigrants.
Republican members said they would refuse to negotiate on the House bill because it did not provide funding for physical border construction.
Three groups funded by conservative mega-donor Charles Koch called on Trump and congressional leaders Thursday to agree to permanent DACA protections in exchange for border wall funding.
Deputy Executive Director of United We Dream and DACA recipient Greisa Martinez Rosas released a statement Saturday criticizing the reported proposal.
“Trump is the one who put us in danger by killing TPS and DACA and then blocking the Dream Act to protect us with a pathway to citizenship,” she wrote.
“For months, Trump has tried to use our lives to get his Wall and increase his deportation agents to hurt immigrants. Trump has killed every compromise to protect immigrant youth, demanding more detention camps and billions for the deportation force. We will need to see the details but we are deeply skeptical that this is not just another trick to hurt even more immigrant families.”
— Updated 1:25 p.m.
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