Democratic legislators seem likely to reject President Donald Trump’s latest concession on the border wall talks, but Vice-President Mike Pence suggested more compromises are possible.
Mike Wallace at Fox News Sunday asked Vice President Mike Pence: “When you say [you will] work together [with Democrats], does that mean that you are willing to negotiate from what the president said, or is that the final offer?
Pence replied — one day after Trump made his concession at the White House — by saying:
The legislative process is a negotiation and up to this point, literally for the last month while the president and I have stayed here in Washington and been engaging continuously with Democrat leadership, and with rank-and-file members in the House and Senate.
Democrats have declared instant opposition to Trump’s offer of three-year work permits for 1 million already-identified foreigners, in exchange for 320 miles of border wall and additional border securing funds. Roughly 700,000 of the foreigners are DACA illegals, who have been exempted from deportation laws since 2012.
On Sunday, Pence hinted the negotiations offer work permits to many unregistered illegals, as is required by the so-called BRIDGE bill:
What this is is a good faith effort to address the issue, bring relief to DACA recipients. Democrats have proposed in the Bridge Act, a three- year reprieve that could be renewable. The president has embraced three years temporary relief.
If Trump expands his offer beyond the 1 million registered foreigners in the United States, he may trigger a mass rush over the border by migrants. The larger offer would encourage migration by new illegal and allow many resident illegal migrants to block their deportation by declaring their claimed eligibility for the BRIDGE deal.
The BRIDGE Act being pushed by Trump's business-first deputies will cripple enforcement, vastly expand catch & release before 2020 election & offer Democrats & estb.-GOP the ability to sever Trump's 2020 chances, say reformers. https://t.co/TAHB5Ax64L
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) January 19, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to hold a vote on Trump’s proposal on Thursday.
McConnell has also tried to win Democratic votes by including new funding for disaster recovery and an extension of the expired Violence Against Women Act. The act is strongly supported by many feminist groups, partly because it provides much funding to civic groups.
Democrats say they are opposed to the plan. Axios reported:
White House officials and Republicans close to leadership have privately admitted to Axios, since Trump’s Saturday announcement, that they don’t see how they win over the seven Senate Democrats they need to support this bill.
Democrats are blunt. Steve Elmendorf, one of the top Democratic lobbyists in Washington D.C., told Axios, “Why would any Senate Democrat vote for a bill that was not negotiated with any Senate Democrat?” (Kushner and Pence consulted Democrats, but they weren’t at the negotiating table; this is a Trump offer.)
“I think it’s totally impossible,” Elmendorf said, when asked if he saw any chance of seven Senate Democrats backing Trump’s offer.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have rejected Trump’s offer:
It was President @realDonaldTrump who single-handedly took away DACA and TPS protections in the first place—offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 19, 2019
But some Democrats are hinting they might accept a deal if they are offered even more concessions. Politico reported:
“We would love to have a permanent fix for DACA and TPS just as he wants a permanent wall,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think it’s a non-starter for him to ask for a permanent wall and for us to have a temporary fix.”
On Saturday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham supported Trump’s proposal. On Sunday, however, he suggested the plan would not get out of the Senate:
The government is now shut down because Democrats refuse to work with President Trump — even after a reasonable offer was made.
Very sad and disappointing.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 21, 2019
Graham’s support is important partly because he has already said he would support a national emergency declaration if Democrats refuse an amnesty-for-wall swap.