Schumer Takes Back Wall Offer in New Immigration Push, Trump Fires Back - NBC Connecticut
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's presidency

Schumer Takes Back Wall Offer in New Immigration Push, Trump Fires Back

The shutdown battle — settled mostly on President Donald Trump's terms — complicated the already difficult search for an immigration pact

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Connecticut Needs Volunteer Firefighters
    Getty Images
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leaves a meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill, Jan. 22, 2018 in Washington, DC.

    Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer has pulled back an offer of $25 billion for President Donald Trump's long-promised southern border wall, as lawmakers scrambled to figure out how to push a deal to protect 700,000 or more so-called Dreamer immigrants from deportation.

    Schumer had made the offer last Friday in a last-ditch effort to head off a government shutdown, then came scalding criticism from his party's liberal activist base that Democrats had given up too easily in reopening the government without securing more concrete promises on immigration.

    "We're going to have to start on a new basis, and the wall offer's off the table," Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Tuesday.

    In response, Trump doubled down on his stance that immigrant protections and the wall must be paired up.

    WH Doubles Down on Trump's 'Animals' Remark at Roundtable

    [NATL] WH Doubles Down on Trump's 'Animals' Comment at California Sanctuary Policies Roundtable

    President Donald Trump railed against immigration policies adopted by so-called sanctuary cities at a White House roundtable Wednesday, bemoaning a California law that restricts local and state cooperation with U.S. Customs and Enforcement agents and calling some immigrants "animals." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on the comments, saying the president's language was not tough enough. 

    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    "Cryin' Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA," the president tweeted late Tuesday, using the acronym for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed the roughly 700,000 immigrants to remain in the country. "We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!"

    The shutdown battle — settled mostly on Trump's terms — complicated the already difficult search for an immigration pact: GOP hard-liners appeared emboldened, while Democrats absorbed withering criticism from progressives. Neither development seemed likely to push the combatants toward the compromises needed to produce a bill that can pass both the tea party-driven House and the more pragmatic Senate.

    Still, there were fresh signs of a willingness to keep hunting for a solution, with a flurry of meetings on Capitol Hill and an assessment from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that "I don't think they're that far apart."

    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he'd been to three meetings Tuesday about immigration. "I know there's a lot of skepticism around here and not much trust," he said, "but I do believe that there is a bona fide bipartisan concern about getting this done."

    Even if the Senate can come up with the votes to pass a plan, Democrats fear there is little chance such a bill would gain the support of House Republicans.

    "There were no commitments made in the House" as legislators worked to end the government shutdown, House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said Monday, warning against any "amnesty" measure.

    Senate Votes to Protect Net Neutrality

    [NATL] Senate Votes to Protect Net Neutrality
    The Senate has moved to protect net neutrality rules that are set to end next month, passing a resolution to keep the Obama-era internet protections by a 52-47 vote.
     
    It's a last-ditch effort led by Democratic senators to take legislative action to overrule the Federal Communications Commission, which voted in December to repeal net neutrality rules.
    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    Trump weighed in earlier Tuesday via Twitter: "Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying....with a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security. The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!"

    Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Schumer had promised $25 billion for the wall and other border security measures, though not all of that would have been immediate funding. He called Schumer's withdrawal of the offer "a step backward."

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has committed to trying to reach a deal on immigration and key budget issues by Feb. 8, though Cornyn said Monday that "strikes me as highly difficult."

    Instead, the Senate appeared more likely to start a freewheeling debate next month.

    "Whoever gets 60 votes wins," said McConnell.

    And it remained unclear precisely who was taking the lead in the negotiating.

    "If you had a tattoo for every group that's forming, you'd have an arm full of them," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was working to bring together a new bipartisan group of senators to reach an agreement.

    The retreat by Democrats brought an end Monday to the three-day government shutdown but roiled immigration activists who blasted Democrats for caving to Republicans with nothing gained by the promise of a Senate vote.

    "Once again, Dreamers are left behind," said Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y.

    Trump last year announced that he was ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, but gave Congress until March 5 to come up with a legislative fix. With the clock ticking, Trump appeared to agree to a pair of deals with Democrats, then backed out and demanded more money for a border wall. He also sought an overhaul of the legal immigration system to prevent immigrants from sponsoring their family members and an end to a visa lottery aimed at expanding diversity.

    On the House side, the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 150 lawmakers, announced its support for a bill written by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas. Their plan would offer DACA recipients a three-year renewal of legal status, allowing them to continue to live and work in the country with no special path to citizenship. It also contains a host of stringent features that are anathema to Democrats, including reducing legal immigration by 25 percent, adding border patrol agents and denying certain funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

    The White House endorsed that bill, and it appeared to be gaining traction among conservatives. NumbersUSA, a group that advocates for reduced immigration, announcing its support Tuesday.

    North Korea Threatens to Shut Down Summit With US

    [NATL] North Korea Threatens to Shut Down Summit With US

    North Korea is threatening to walk away from next month's highly anticipated historic summit with the United States, saying it has no interest in giving up nuclear weapons without getting something in return. The regime is pointing to routine military drills between the U.S. and South Korea as a "provocative military racket."

    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    ___

    Associated Press writer Luis Alonso Lugo contributed to this report.