- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sen. Lamar Alexander said Thursday that he welcomes President Trump’s recent comments on the immigration bill, but emphasized that the Senate will do its job and draft a bill they know can pass.

“I welcome the president’s comments. I met with the secretary of the Homeland Security Department this week and I said please give us your recommendations, please provide technical advice,” Mr. Alexander, Tennessee Republican, said on Fox News.

Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that he’d consider a path to citizenship for Dreamers — those brought to the U.S. illegally as children — but has said in the past that any protections must come with border wall funding.

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Mr. Alexander said that a group of 36 senators met about the immigration proposal and said the “spirit” of the group is “good.” He added that they really want to pass something along bipartisan lines, and that the president’s recent comments will be considered.

“We want to pass a bill with at least 70 votes so the president will sign it. And if he signs it the House will be more likely to pass it,” he explained.

Mr. Alexander said he’s not concerned about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer taking funding for the border wall off the negotiating table, chalking it up to talk-tough debating that happens in these situations. 

“The president and Chuck Schumer are both New Yorkers. They’re both negotiators. That kind of negotiation really doesn’t matter here,” Mr. Alexander explained.

The White House plans to release what it would like to see in an immigration plan next week, but the Republican senator emphasized that the Senate will pass what it needs to in order to get their goal of 70 votes. A 60-vote threshold is required to avoid a filibuster, but Mr. Alexander said he’d like to see the new bill pass by higher margins.

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