McConnell and other GOP supporters describe the measure as the Senate's best shot of passing a bill that the president will sign, but many Democrats consider some of the proposals, including limiting the relatives that legal immigrants can bring to the USA, to be non-starters.
But number two Senate Republican John Cornyn said it was critical to pass legislation that could clear the House, where conservatives bridle at the thought of providing "amnesty" to millions of immigrants, and pass muster with Trump.
Democrats adamantly oppose Trump's plan, particularly its barring of legal immigrants from sponsoring their parents or siblings to live in the US.
"We're making real progress", Republican Senator Susan Collins tweeted after hosting coalition members in her office. Amendments gaining 60 votes would become part of the immigration bill. I'm not sure it will. "Surely those two things can come together in a piece of legislation that winds up on the president's desk". However, both President trump and Senate Democrats are unhappy with aspects of the proposal.
President Donald Trump held firm to his demands on Wednesday in a US immigration policy fight with Democrats even as a bipartisan group of senators prepared to unveil a new plan for protecting "Dreamers" immigrants and beefing up border security.
Undercutting the centrists, Trump on Wednesday threw his weight behind a rival immigration measure spearheaded by Sen.
Schumer said he disagreed with how McConnell navigated the Senate's debate on health care and tax legislation, but he called the Senate's work on the budget agreement signed into law last week as a "genuine bipartisan breakthrough".
"I remain encouraged by developments in the House toward advancing legislation from Chairmen Goodlatte and McCaul", Trump said in a statement.
That bill would dramatically reduce the 1.1 million green cards issued each year by allowing USA citizens to sponsor only their spouse or child, eliminating diversity lottery visas and limiting the number of refugees offered permanent residency in the country.
"If it doesn't have a reasonable treatment for each of the pillars, I couldn't support it", said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Another proposal likely to surface, backed by some Republicans and many Democrats, would give Dreamers a chance at citizenship but provide no border security money or legal immigration restrictions.
"What we always want to do in the House is have a House Republican position, which we can start from for negotiations", Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2018The Senate on Monday evening started debate on the future of DACA recipients, often called "Dreamers".
Leadership could try to jam senators by forcing them to choose between either passing the Grassley measure or doing nothing on DACA. Republicans held a tough line, at least for now, in the search for a bipartisan deal. Angus King, I-Maine, Joe Manchin, D-W.
Debate is expected to end this week with a vote on President Donald Trump's own proposal. "I think the Senate doesn't want to be seen as failing, but time will tell", said Sen. Axios reported yesterday that President Trump is threatening to veto any bill that doesn't adhere to those four pillars. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) echoed that stance, saying the "sooner the better". He said the Senate would vote on DACA by February 8 in exchange for their votes to end the first government shutdown. David Perdue, R-Ga., an ardent Trump defender and sponsor of the Grassley plan. They could, he said, ultimately try to amend the framework before a procedural hurdle where it would again need 60 votes.
"Aren't you at a point where here the Democrats have been pleading for months and months and months for justice".
When a reporter noted that there wasn't unanimous Republican support for the plan, he added: "There's some Republicans that don't want to do anything on immigration".
Senators have been divided for weeks over whether they should pass a bill that couldn't get a majority in the House, where Ryan says he will only bring up a bill Trump supports.
Other than their good-natured debate over whiskey, the Senate leaders portrayed themselves as friendly counterparts during Schumer's visit to Louisville.
McConnell said of the process, "It will be an opportunity for a thousand flowers to bloom". "We're making progress, but", he added, trailing off. "But we've got to pass it". That will make it harder for Republican senators who might be willing to back the more modest bipartisan measure. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), a proposal from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would crack down on sanctuary cities, and a placeholder for the Collins proposal.
The Toomey proposal is one of several GOP amendments seen by observers as being created to force incumbent Democrats from battleground states to cast uncomfortable votes that could be used against them in this year's midterms.
That will eat up days of time since, under Senate rules, they would need to have an "intervening day" before an initial vote. Senators could get a deal to speed up the debate, though the Senate adjourned on Wednesday night without scheduling any votes for Thursday. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen.
"We've got the hall". He says "they only come here with a determination to make a better life for themselves and a better country for all of us". "I'm just sort of at a loss".