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Trump during a bipartisan immigration meeting last month. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A senior administration official said Tuesday night that President Trump "will veto any bill that doesn’t advance his common-sense immigration reforms" — a hardening of the White House bargaining position as the Senate begins an epic debate.

Why it matters: With moderate, bipartisan senators looking to restore protections for "Dreamers," who came to the U.S. as children, Trump is laying down a marker: He won’t approve the squishy bill that will most likely come out of the Senate.

  • Reality check: There's almost zero chance the Senate approves a bill Trump will like.
  • Trump wants long-term cuts to legal immigration.
  • The other side ... A Senate Democratic official tells us: "Their spin is laughably bad. He ended the [DACA] program. He would be deporting them. Who in their right mind would blame Democrats?"

In discussing the White House's strategic thinking, the administration official asserted confidence on immigration, saying Democrats who resist Trump's approach will "be walking into a political suicide march."

  • The administration official said: "The White House has claimed the mainstream, middle ground on immigration."
  • "By opposing the president’s framework, Democrats are making it clear that they care more about donors than Dreamers."
  • "Republicans have Democrats backed into a corner," the official added. "Democratic leaders are now catering to the far-left activist wing of their base."
  • "Democrats are selling out American workers for open borders ... [T]he White House is making it clear that the Republican Party is the party of American workers."

The Senate Democratic official blasted back: "Republicans are in charge of Congress, the President ended DACA, and if deportations come, it’ll be Donald Trump’s ICE agents doing the deportations."

  • "Republicans will own any failure to get a result here. Period."
  • The Democratic official added: "They will have to defend it while trying to win Senate seats in Nevada and Arizona, and swing House seats across the country."
  • "Democrats have offered Donald Trump the wall and reasonable bipartisan proposals on what they call chain migration and diversity visas."
  • "We have claimed the middle ground, and the President has rejected it ... He’s using Dreamers as leverage to achieve immigration policies that are broadly unpopular."
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Go deeper

25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats propose raising debt ceiling through midterms

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House and Senate leadership announced on Monday that they plan to attach a proposal to raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 2022 to a short-term, government funding bill. The bill must pass before the end of the month or Congress risks a shutdown.

Why it matters: Democrats are taking a huge risk by trying to force through an increase of the debt limit in its must-pass funding bill. The move is wishful thinking on behalf of Democrats who are hoping they can get at least 10 centrist Republicans to balk, as well as an effort to put Republicans on record opposing it.

Biden to stress U.S. does not seek new Cold War in UN speech

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to lay out his vision for an era of "intensive diplomacy" with allies and "vigorous competition" with great powers — without a Cold War with China.

Why it matters: Biden will take the podium in New York on Tuesday with his own international credibility in question after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. His administration also is struggling to build international momentum to fight climate change, the pandemic and rising global authoritarianism.

6 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.