Government shutdown enters Third day amid shifting blame game

Pro-DACA protesters are a common sight on Capitol Hill and at the White House including this group egged on by Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on Sunday

Pro-DACA protesters are a common sight on Capitol Hill and at the White House including this group egged on by Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on Sunday

WASHINGTON-A leading bipartisan Senate immigration proposal is "totally unacceptable" to President Donald Trump and "should be declared dead on arrival", the White House said Tuesday, reaffirming a hard line on a contentious issue that has become entangled with USA government funding in recent weeks.

Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, an immigration hard-liner aligned with the White House, said he spoke with Trump on Wednesday about this issue and that the President remains committed to the core pillars he had previously laid out.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday reports that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may be fired are unfounded.

"Tell them not to worry", Trump said, wearing his dark overcoat en route to the White House residence just hours before he will depart for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Trump had rejected the offer.

The White House will release the legislative framework on Monday.

Sanders said it did not meet the White House's demands that an immigration bill strengthen border security, dramatically reduce family reunification in immigration and end the visa lottery. "We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country".

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"We believe that you need to start in the House and it has been my position consistently, you start in the House with the most conservative bill, you send it to the Senate, it gets moderated in the Senate, and then comes back", Rep. Mark Meadows, the Freedom Caucus chair, told reporters last weekend.

"There's nothing now on the table that addresses all the concerns", Sanders said, a day after saying a bipartisan Senate plan would be "dead on arrival" at the White House. The goal is to produce consensus legislation that would be the starting point for Senate debate on immigration, which is expected to begin February 8, said Sens.

"After decades of inaction by Congress, it's time we work together to solve this issue once and for all", Sanders said.

Trump is also expected to discuss the immigration debate at his State of the Union address Tuesday night. That suggests both parties would be allowed to offer amendments. "I think that different circumstances call for a different type of leadership".

While Cornyn said he hoped the bipartisan group of senators would produce a measure that can pass the Senate, "it would also have to get the president's support eventually".

In agreeing on Monday to end a three-day government shutdown - the first since 2013 - and fund the government until February 8, Senate Democrats got a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would allow an immigration debate on the Senate floor in the near future.

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