Jill Colvin reports:
“President Donald Trump told lawmakers Wednesday that he’s open to signing legislation protecting thousands of young immigrants from deportation even if the bill does not include funding for his promised border wall. But Trump remains committed to building a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border, even if Democrats say it’s a non-starter.
Trump had dinner with Sen. Chuck Schumer and top Democrat Nancy Pelosi Wednesday night, and they reached a deal on DACA, according to a joint statement by the democrats.
“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” the statement read.
Trump, who was deeply disappointed by Republicans’ failure to pass a health care overhaul, infuriated many in his party when he reached a three-month deal with Sen. Schumer and House Democratic Leader Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling, keep the government running and speed relief to states affected by recent hurricanes.
Trump ended the program earlier this month and has given Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the so-called “Dreamers'” statuses begin to expire.
“We don’t want to forget DACA,” Trump told the members at the meeting. “We want to see if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion so that we can solve the DACA problem and other immigration problems.”
As part of that effort, Trump said he would not insist on tying extending DACA protections to wall funding, as long as a final bill included “some sort of border security,” said Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who attended the meeting.
“He said, ‘We don’t have to have the wall on this bill,'” recalled Cuellar. “He said: ‘We can put that somewhere else, like appropriations or somewhere.’ But that was very significant because a lot of us don’t want to tie DACA and the wall. We’re not going to split the baby on that one. So he himself said, ‘We’re not going to put the wall tied into this.'”
Trump has made a sudden pivot to bipartisanship after months of railing against Democrats as “obstructionist.” He has urged them to join him in overhauling the nation’s tax code, among other priorities.
“More and more we’re trying to work things out together,” Trump explained Wednesday, calling the development a “positive thing” for both parties.
“If you look at some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner. And so that’s what we’re going to give a shot,” he said.
The “Kumbaya” moment appeared to extend to the thorny issue of immigration, which has been vexing lawmakers for years. Funding for Trump’s promised wall had been thought to be a major point of contention between Republicans and Democrats as they attempted to forge a deal.
Democrats have been adamant in their opposition to the wall, but both Pelosi and a top White House staffer indicated Tuesday that they were open to a compromise on border security to expedite DACA legislation.
White House legislative director Marc Short said during a breakfast that, while the president remained committed to the wall, funding for it did not necessarily need to be linked directly to the “Dreamers” issue. “I don’t want us to bind ourselves into a construct that makes reaching a conclusion on DACA impossible,” he said.”
I have to admit that I’m stunned by this swing of the pendulum. But, I’m pleased and relieved for the great Dreamers if it works. The Devil is often in the details, particularly with immigration.
On this occasion, I’ll have to agree with the President that bipartisan legislation putting the best interests of the country first is a good thing, and a smart way for the President to get credit for some legislative achievements.
We’ll have to see what happens, But, it’s nice to end the day on a more optimistic note.
The Devil is indeed in the details! According to this more recent article from Sophie Tatum at CNN (forwarded by my friend and fellow insomniac Nolan Rappaport) the “deal” is far from done and the White House version of the meeting is not the same as the Schumer-Pelosi statement:
“White House press secretary Sarah Sanders immediately pushed back on the idea the wall would be dropped.
“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” Sanders said.
White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short confirmed that the President and Democrats agreed to work to find a legislative fix for DACA, but he called Democrats’ claim of a deal that would exclude wall funding “intentionally misleading.”