Vice President Mike Pence conceded the White House may not have enough votes in the Senate to advance President Donald Trump’s deal to end the shutdown.
Republicans have a 53-seat majority in the upper chamber and need seven Democrats to vote yes in order to move the president’s deal on the path to passage.
‘We’ll see,’ Pence said on ‘Fox News Sunday’ when asked if they would get the votes needed.
Congress returns to Washington D.C. on Tuesday, after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Vice President Mike Pence conceded the White House may not have enough votes in the Senate to advance President Donald Trump’s deal to end the shutdown
Vice President Mike Pence said ‘we’ll see’ if Republicans get seven Democrats to join them in Senate to move the deal forward
The vice president also pushed back against concerns from conservatives Trump was offering amnesty to illegal immigrants with his offer.
‘It’s not amnesty,’ he said.
‘There’s no pathway to citizenship. There’s no permanent status here at all, which is what amnesty contemplates. What is this is, is a good faith effort to address the issue, bring relief to DACA recipients,’ he added.
Trump outlined a plan to end the government shutdown on Saturday, offering congressional Democrats three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients — including protection from deportation — and an extension of legal residence for people living in the country under ‘Temporary Protective Status’ designations.
The president said his compromise will provide the ‘best chance in a very long time at real bipartisan immigration reform’ in the U.S. Congress.
The president also offered $800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance and 75 new immigration teams to reduce the court backlog of 900,000 cases, which he called an ‘impossible nightmare’ in his late-afternoon remarks.
DACA refers to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offered a no-deportation guarantee to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants whose parents brought them into the U.S. as minors.
TPS is a Justice Department program that grants residency and work permits to people from 10 countries affected by natural disasters or brutal armed conflicts. They include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.
Democratic congressional leaders on Saturday dismissed Trump’s offer even before he made his remarks at the White House, rejecting it based off news reports’ of what he was going to propose to end the 30-day partial government shutdown.
The president on Saturday also took fire from his right flank, which complained his deal offered amnesty for illegals.
‘Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb!,’ conservative author Ann Coulter complained on Twitter Saturday.
‘100 miles of border wall in exchange for amnestying millions of illegals. So if we grant citizenship to a BILLION foreigners, maybe we can finally get a full border wall,’ she added.
James Carafano, a national security expert at the Trump-supporting Heritage Foundation, said in a statement Saturday, that Trump ‘should be applauded’ for pursuing an end to the government shutdown and better border security.
‘However, including amnesty in the new proposal is not the way to do it. Amnesty encourages further illegal immigration, incentivizes the tragedy of human trafficking, and undermines our citizens’ confidence in the rule of law,’ he argued.
It was the complaints of Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and other prominent voices on the right that prompted Trump’s demand for full funding for his border wall in any appropriations bill funding the government.
Democrats rejected that request leading to the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22.
Vice President Mike Pence pushed back against concerns from conservatives Trump was offering amnesty to illegal immigrants: ‘It’s not amnesty’
TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION OFFER
The president offered Democrats in Congress an immigration reform package on January 19, including some items from their wish-list.
In exchange, he wants money to continue construction of a border wall that he has promised consistently since early 2015.
The White House’s proposal includes:
- $5.7 billion for a ‘steel barrier system’ along the U.S.-Mexico border
- a three-year deportation reprieve for DACA recipients
- a three-year extension of Temporary Protected Status for more than 300,000 people whose nations experienced disasters and war
- $805 million for new technology, scanners, training, dogs and related staff to detect narcotics and guns
- $800 million for humanitarian assistance and temporary housing
- $782 million to hire 2,750 new border agents and other personnel
- $563 million for immigration courts including 75 new ‘immigration judge teams’
Republicans have a 53 seat majority in the Senate
Negotiations are now stuck between the $5.7 billion Trump wants and the $1.3 billion Democrats have offered for border security.
Pence said the president would listen to proposals to amend his deal.
‘We recognize the legislative process is a process of give and take. The Democrats want to bring amendments or recommendations forward. I know the president will give them due consideration, but the president is absolutely determined to build a steel barrier on the southern border in the 10 priority areas that the Department of Homeland Security said that we need a physical barrier. It’s roughly two hundred and thirty four miles. It’s not from sea to sea. It’s two hundred thirty four miles of additional steel barrier,’ he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”