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Bipartisan Immigration Bill Greeted by Big GOP Meh
Gang of Six measure shunned by White House, GOP leaders

Demonstrators with United We Dream and others rally in the atrium of Hart Building on January 16, 2018, to call on congress to pass the Dream Act, that protects young immigrants from deportation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite its bipartisan pedigree, an immigration bill from the Senate’s “Gang of Six” appears unlikely to advance amid backlash from congressional Republicans and the White House.

GOP lawmakers are now placing all their hopes on a coalition of four House and Senate leaders to come up with a solution to address the pending end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that covers immigrants who come to the country illegally as children.

Graham’s DACA, Military Plan at Odds With Leadership
‘We should take care of the DREAM Act kids now, not wait till March 5’

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown, now the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, talk after running into each other by chance in the Russell Building on Jan. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he believes Congress should address the program that covers immigrants brought illegally to the country as children before it expires later this year.

Speaking at an event in Washington hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the South Carolina Republican said his party was naive to think it could persuade Democrats to support increased defense spending without finding a solution to prevent the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Opinion: White People in Norway? Who Knew?
Kirstjen Nielsen displays the rhetorical contortions necessary to serve under Trump

Kirstjen Nielsen might want to stay away from categories on Norway or basic geography if she ever appears on “Jeopardy” — especially if the answer is, “What’s a Scandinavian country with lots of white people?” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the conclusion of more than four hours of testimony Tuesday before an often hostile Senate Judiciary Committee, Kirstjen Nielsen, the new secretary of Homeland Security, slowly gathered up her papers, shared a few laughing words with Arizona Republican Jeff Flake (the last senator in the room) and confidently exited surrounded by an armada of aides.

Depending on her level of self-awareness and the degree of flattery from her staffers, Nielsen may have nurtured the belief that she aced her Capitol Hill exam. After all, the loyal Cabinet secretary avoided saying almost anything controversial, even when pressed by Democrats over Donald Trump’s doubly confirmed reference to “shithole countries” during last Thursday’s White House immigration meeting that she attended.

Non-Denial Denials and Disbelief: Tuesday at the White House
Reporters seemed to have trouble accepting medical report on president

Reporters seemed stunned that Donald Trump's first physical as president showed no health issues.  (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Non-denial denials and an hour of stunned disbelief dominated Tuesday’s White House proceedings.

President Donald Trump and his top aides danced around his alleged vulgar comments about black-and-brown skinned immigrants while also bashing Democrats over what appears to be a longshot immigration bill. And his military physician, who served in the same position under two other commanders in chief, faced an hour of increasingly incredulous questions from the White House press corps after he deemed Trump is of sound physical and mental condition.

Key GOP Negotiators Doubt Immigration Deal Materializes This Week

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a key negotiator on immigration talks, doubts there will be some sort of deal this week, despite Democrats' saying they won't support a funding bill if it does not contain immigration provisions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A key Senate negotiator and White House official on Tuesday expressed little hope for an immigration deal this week but nonetheless predicted that Congress can avoid a government shutdown.

“I think we’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal. I think this week would be fairly Herculean,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with staff of the No. 2 congressional leaders.

Podcast: Inching Toward a Spending Spree
CQ Budget, Episode 44

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer confer after the Senate policy lunches in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak explains the negotiations to lift the budget caps by as much as $250 billion over two years.

Show Notes:

GOP Leaders Under the Gun to Avert Partial Shutdown
As hope for DACA deal shrivels, Republicans stare down Friday deadline

The fate of the DACA program is one of many issues affecting the shutdown talks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Congress began the week with growing uncertainty about the effort to pass another temporary spending bill, even as the prospect of a partial government shutdown loomed.

No budget talks were held over the long weekend after the breakdown in negotiations last week, people familiar with them said. Talks had stalled over the fate of roughly 690,000 “Dreamers” — young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who are currently shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Top DHS Official Says She ‘Did Not Hear’ Trump’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Comment
Kirstjen Nielsen was present at White House meeting

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin is shown on a television monitor questioning Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top official at the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday declined to say directly whether President Donald Trump used a profane slur to describe several foreign countries during a recent White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration that she attended.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee she “did not hear” whether Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” in last Thursday’s meeting with House and Senate lawmakers.

Blaming Dems, Trump Says DACA Deal Likely ‘Dead’
President also doubles down on ‘merit-based’ immigration

President Donald Trump said Sunday that the deal on the DACA immigration program is likely dead and blamed Democrats. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Sunday declared a deal on the DACA immigration program likely “dead,” tweeting his view that Democrats don’t really want one.

Democratic lawmakers “just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” he wrote.

He Said, He Said: Lawmakers in Trump Meeting Appalled — Or ‘Don’t Recall’
Trump’s reference to ‘shithole countries’ sets off a s---storm

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham were both in a meeting with President Donald Trump when he reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole countries.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:41 p.m.| Members of Congress who were in the meeting when President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” have different memories of what happened.

The Washington Post reported that Trump asked Thursday why “all these people from shithole countries” were coming to the United States, alluding to Haiti and countries in Africa.