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Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty

A DACA solution along with a long-term budget by February 8 looks next to impossible, Senate aides on both side of the aisle as well as several industry sources closely involved tell Axios. They expect to be in the same spot they were in last weekend.

All about that base: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to protect DREAMers — even President Trump wants a DACA solution. The problem is, Republicans want to use DACA as a bargaining chip to get Trump's wall, pass tougher immigration enforcement policies and cut back on chain migration. They can't risk a clean DACA deal with their base. Meanwhile, Democrats have no interest in chain migration changes as part of a DACA deal, according to a Republican Senate source. There's not been much compromise and it doesn't look like much will change between now and February 8th.

Silver lining: Democrats could be willing to budge on the wall and even get behind some tougher immigration enforcement policies in exchange for DACA, one Democratic aide told Axios. But they've yet to see a promising piece of legislation on the issue. Chuck Schumer has also withdrawn his offer of a big spending boost for "the wall" in exchange for DACA, Politico reported today.

And:

  • The Congressional schedule is not generous, leaving senators with basically the one week leading up to the Thursday deadline to get some kind of miracle deal that pleases both sides into the budget.
  • Setting the federal budget is a complicated task in and of itself even without a fight over funding for a wall and a path to citizenship for DREAMers. Time is quickly running out.
  • As of right now, a plausible deal on DACA doesn't exist. The "Gang of 6" bipartisan bill revealed a couple weeks ago could have been a starting point — a piece of legislation that Republicans could have slowly dragged to the right, but Trump quickly shut that one down.

Political moves: Sen. Schumer's deal with Republicans to reopen the government yesterday was a strong political play. He can now force Republicans into an actual vote on some kind of DACA legislation. If Republicans vote no, Dems can use it against them politically — in the upcoming midterm elections, for example.

Bottom line from Axios' Caitlin Owens: "No one sees a path for something through the Senate, House and to the WH unless Trump gives Paul Ryan some MAJOR cover."

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.

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