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Photo: Win McNamee / Getty

The White House is actively trying to stamp out any momentum behind the bipartisan Rounds-King immigration bill. Shortly after President Trump's veto threat, a White House official told reporters on a call Thursday afternoon that senators had been asked to remove their sponsorship from the bill, saying it's possible that they were "simply grievously misinformed about the bill’s outrageous contents."

Why it matters: Even if the Senate manages to get 60 votes on this bill, the White House is making it extra clear that Trump will not sign it into law. Trump tweeted this afternoon that the bill would be a "total catastrophe."

  • Where it stands: Trump has only expressed support for the Grassley bill in the Senate and the Goodlatte bill in the House. "If Dems are actually serious about DACA, they should support the Grassley bill," he said in his tweet.
  • What it does: The bipartisan bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for the "Dreamers," adults who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, gives $25 billion toward border security and prohibits Dreamers from sponsoring their parents for citizenship.
  • The problem: The official claimed that the bill would significantly increase the legalized immigrant population, wouldn't fund the additional immigration officers that the Department of Homeland Security has requested, and "handcuffs" border agents and ICE officers. "We can't tell ICE officers to stand down until someone gets hurt," the official said.
  • Out for blood: The White House official specifically berated GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham for his response to the Department of Homeland Security's letter condemning the bipartisan bill, calling him "an obstacle to getting immigration done" and "an obstacle to Dreamers." Referring to both the Graham-Durbin and the Rounds-King bills, the official said, "Graham’s presence on those bills is the problem."
  • The other side: Earlier today in a press conference, Graham blamed the White House's veto threat on senior adviser Stephen Miller's influence: "Stephen Miller’s never going to run this show here and get you a successful outcome.”

Go deeper

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

6 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.