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Schumer: Border Wall Off the Table Going Into DACA Talks with Trump

WASHINGTON -- Ahead of his dinner with President Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this evening, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor this morning that he sees "a sign of good faith" from the White House going into discussions about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"I really believe Congress wants to take care of it. We discussed that also today, and Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I. And I said if we can get something to happen, we're going to sign it and we're going to make a lot of happy people," Trump said after an Oval Office meeting with congressional leaders last week.

Asked if he wants to see a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, Trump replied, "That's going to be discussed later, but we want to talk about legal right now. We haven't discussed that."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that "we've been saying all along" DACA legalization legislation could be passed unattached to border wall funding. "We haven't mixed messages here. We want responsible immigration reform. That hasn't changed. The president's very much committed to the wall. We're also committed to some other principles that we've laid out and none of those have changed," she said.

Schumer declared this morning that the administration "said that the topic of the border wall would not be a part of the discussion between our two parties about the path forward for the DREAMers."

"This a very good thing. The border wall is expensive, unnecessary, completely ineffective, not being paid for by Mexico as promised, and it would have been a major sticking point in those discussions," he added. " I made these arguments to the president repeatedly over the last week and I’m glad the administration has taken that position."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the Associated Press that removing the 800,000 immigrants currently in the DACA program, brought illegally to the U.S. as children, is "not in our nation's interest," though GOP leaders do want to see a border security priority.

Schumer dedicated most of his floor remarks to tax reform, vowing Dems "don’t want a reform to balloon the debt, because we know that, down the road, many Republicans will use the debt as an excuse to come after Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid."

Trump tweeted this morning: "With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!"

"With all due respect to the president, a tax cut – particularly one for the very wealthy – is not going to help Florida or Texas rebuild from these storms," Schumer said. "And the president has it exactly backwards in another way. We’re about to add billions to the deficit to rebuild parts of our country, something we absolutely should do because it’s an emergency. But that makes it even more important that tax reform be fiscally responsible and deficit neutral – not 'tax cuts' as the president tweeted."