Vice President Mike Pence and administration officials expressed great hope in “rank and file” Democrats late Saturday to pass the immigration, border security, and government reopening package President Donald Trump unveiled moments before.
Pence said the deal president Trump offered Saturday was the culmination of many meetings with both Democrats and Republicans on the issue of securing the U.S. southern border and reopening the portion of government that remains in a shutdown. He pointed to specific provisions that were proposed by Democrats and included in the president’s new offer.
Joining Pence at a meeting with reporters were Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner
What you heard today was “a proposal to secure our border and end this partial government shutdown,” Pence conveyed.
He said the president directed their team to engage Democrat leadership, and they’ve done that through a litany of meetings culminating in the White House meeting on January 9 that ended with “strong disagreement about priorities.” He also pointed to the president’s recent visit to the border.
Following the January 9 White House meeting between Democrat and Republican leaders and the administration, the president charged his team to engage with leadership in the Senate and House to find a way forward, according to Pence. He said is was to include ideas from Republicans and Democrats and that those were included in today’s offer.
“When Jared and I went and met with the Senate leadership late Thursday, it was at the president’s direction” to form the plan unveiled today, said Pence. They got the commitment Thursday, and “the president made the decision to move forward.”
“We have been reaching out,” said Pence referring to members in the House and Senate. He said they look forward to passing legislation this week in the Senate.
Kushner pointed to the president’s overtures for broader immigration reform in Saturday’s announcement.
“We look forward to seeing what happens this week,” said Kushner, who expressed hope for broader immigration reform.
“This is not an amnesty bill,” said Pence in response to reporter’s question. He said it provides a three year extension. “It’s time for congress to start voting on a proposal that brings together ideas from both parties, priorities from both parties.”
Sen. Dick Durbin proposed some of the provisions and others came from Democrat leadership. “The addition of temporary DACA fix and temporary TPS fix” were part of the package, according to Pence.
Pence said they have been talking to “rank and file” Democrats in the Senate and House, and DACA and TPS were part of those talks. He said the offer is saying that the president will sign a package with these reforms in it.
“I think millions of Americans are going to respond to this,” said Pence.
Democrat leadership in the House and Senate have been “discouraging” some of the rank and file Democrats, Pence conveyed when pressed to name the Democrats willing to consider and vote for the package.
“This is the proposal the president wanted to put forward,” Pence said when asked why the proposal was for DACA recipients and not DACA eligible individuals. He said this will be the language in the bill that is presented in the Senate. Work in the Senate will start Tuesday after the holiday.
“If the bill’s filibustered on Tuesday…people will not get paid,” said Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
The vice president said they are going to reach out to every member of Congress, and he suspects the American people are going to reach out too.
Mulvaney said he absolutely believes the national emergency is still a tool available to the president. He added that Democrats are holding up the pay-your-Coast Guard bill through an unknown Democrat filibuster.
The vice president, Sec. Nielsen, Kushner, and Mulvaney’s comments came less than an hour after President Donald Trump delivered a White House message on border security and a deal offered to Democrats to build a portion of barrier on the U.S. southern border, more border security measures, and reopen the government.