- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Senate won’t vote on an immigration deal unless it has President Trump’s support, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, effectively dooming the Gang of Six bill even before a bipartisan group of lawmakers officially introduced it.

Mr. McConnell said they are waiting to see exactly what Mr. Trump will sign, but the president has said the bill written by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Richard Durbin was rejected by the White House last week, so it’s not the basis for negotiations.

“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports and he has not indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” Mr. McConnell told reporters, saying they can move to a bill “As soon as we figure out what he is for.”

The comments seemed to put pressure back on the White House, where Mr. Trump has laid out broad topics he wants to see tackled but hasn’t offered specific legislation.

House Democrats meeting with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly earlier in the day had said they were disappointed the White House wasn’t talking specifics.

“There either is a proposal or there isn’t a proposal,” said Rep. Luis V. Guteirrez, Illinois Democrat.

Senate Democrats have been touting the Graham-Durbin plan as a viable solution, saying it checks off all of the four priorities the president laid out.

But Mr. Trump signaled that while it was generous to illegal immigrant Dreamers, it gave him less than 10 percent of his border wall request, didn’t effectively limit the chain of family migration, and created yet another pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of would-be illegal immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and other countries struck by natural disasters.

While Democrats are still pushing the Graham-Durbin deal, Mr. Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, has gone back to another set of negotiations involving his counterparts: Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, both Republicans, and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, a Democrat.

Those lawmakers met earlier Wednesday and agreed to meet again Thursday.

But with a new spending bill due by Friday, it’s almost impossible that their negotiations would be concluded in time to be part of the bill.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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