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GOP Privately Voices Concerns Over White House Immigration Pitch

The DSCC launched Facebook ads targeting senators in seven competitive states.

May 15, 2019, 11:06 a.m.

"President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, faced pointed questions about his plan to overhaul the immigration system in a closed-door meeting with Republican senators Tuesday—and failed to offer solutions to some key concerns, according to GOP officials who cast doubt on the viability of the proposal."

Though GOP senators publicly applauded the proposal following their luncheon Tuesday, privately, several "said Kushner did not have clear answers to some questions from the friendly audience, prompting Trump’s other senior adviser, Stephen Miller, to interrupt at times and take over the conversation."

A senior Trump administration official disputed that characterization.

"At one point, Kushner told Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that his plan would not address Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program that shields some young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation. This left several senators confused because dealing with the “dreamers,” as the group of immigrants is often called, is crucial for securing any Democratic support."

Collins, confirming she has issues with the proposal: “I am concerned about the fate of the DACA young people, and they cannot be excluded from any immigration package.”

"Kushner also appeared to struggle to answer Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who asked how the plan would deal with undocumented immigrants already in the country. The administration official said Cornyn instead offered praise for the plan. A spokesman for Cornyn declined to comment on the private meeting." (Washington Post)

CLIMATE. "Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is vowing to keep a sharp focus on climate change, pressing what he views as one of the Democrats’ best advantages over Republicans in the 2020 election.

"Schumer’s decision to devote his attention to climate change this year comes amid a wave a new activism from the party’s younger, greener supporters—and recent polling data showing climate change has risen from its back-burner status to become one of the top issues for Democratic voters overall."

"It’s been a balancing act on occasion. Schumer parried Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to hold a vote on the Green New Deal resolution by leading his party to vote 'present' en masse, a tactic that may have helped Democrats defuse Republican accusations they supported the plan conservatives had labeled a 'socialist fantasy.'

"While Schumer’s move to blunt the impact of the vote was supported by progressive groups, they’re anxious to see him back ambitious action in bills moving through Congress this year."

"Schumer says his focus on climate change isn’t simply a political calculation. It’s been fed by the 'visceral, profound' damage from Hurricane Sandy he saw while visiting Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island following the 2012 storm and the birth of his first grandson, Noah, last fall that he says drove home the human side of unchecked climate change." (Politico)

WHO'S HUNGRY? "Part of the problem" Democrats have in recruiting high-profile candidates to run for the Senate "may stem from the current state of the upper chamber."

Under McConnell, "Republicans seem to be interested in doing little else other than confirming President Donald Trump’s judicial and executive branch nominees. Hopes for a big infrastructure package making it to Trump’s desk are fading fast. So, too, are the chances for action on other issues like immigration, gun control or climate change."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): “We’ve certainly become just an expensive lunch club. We vote on judges a few times a week and we have lunch together and we don’t do anything else.”

The Senate has recently struggled to pass bipartisan legislation like disaster aid, a change from the past. Potential GOP recruits may feel similarly put off by the gridlock in the chamber, with Gov. Chris Sununu (R) opting to run for reelection instead.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL): “Privately, many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle tell me they’re fed up with this. The America I’m looking at has a need for a lot of things that we should be doing on a bipartisan basis.” (HuffPost)

RUNNING ONLINE. The DSCC launched digital ads Tuesday targeting Republican incumbents in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, and Texas over votes for Trump's 2017 tax law. The ads cite recent news reports to criticize the senators for helping raise taxes on survivor benefits for some military families. (release)

The ad buy was five-figures, according to The Hill, and a scan through the Facebook Ad Archive shows the ads are primarily reaching people aged 18-34. (Hotline reporting)

PARTY IN THE LOBBY. "More than a dozen Republican lobbyists are hosting a fundraiser on Thursday evening for the National Republican Senatorial Committee at which ... McConnell and a contingent of chiefs of staff to Republican senators are expected to appear. Several former McConnell aides who are now on K Street are among the hosts, including Hunter Bates and Brendan Dunn of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Rohit Kumar of PricewaterhouseCoopers."

"The fundraiser will be held on the rooftop of Akin Gump’s space on the Hill, according to a person familiar with the matter. The price of admission is relatively cheap by the exorbitant standards of Washington fundraisers: $500 to go as a co-host or $250 to show up as an attendee."

Chiefs of staff expected to attend include those for: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and McConnell. (Politico)

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