Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) confirmed in a statement Friday morning that he plans to vote for the GOP tax bill despite his concerns it will blow a $1 trillion hole in the federal deficit. He said his yes vote was secured by a promise from Senate leadership and the White House to include him in negotiations around a permanent fix for recipients—the hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people whose protections were stripped away by the Trump administration earlier this year.
“Getting protections for those kids is what I hope comes out of it,” he told reporters Friday. “Obviously they can’t commit to do that. But they committed to move forward with me and work with me on it.”
Flake said he was given no promise as to when a DACA deal would be made, saying: “I would like to get it done before the end of the year. You shouldn’t make those kids wait with that kind of uncertainty.”
Flake’s office added in a statement to TPM that he is “pleased to have a commitment from the Vice President Pence and the White House to be in the middle of the forthcoming legislative process to get a fix to the DACA situation,” adding that no deadline has been set and “the details and timing will unfold.”
Flake went further in a Tweet earlier on Friday, saying that he got a “commitment from the administration andleadership to advance growth-oriented legislative solution to enact fair & permanent protections for recipients.”
In accepting this promise, Flake is counting on an administration that he recently blasted for engaging in “reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior” that is “dangerous to a democracy.”
White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short, in the Capitol Friday to push for the passage of the tax bill, laughed when approached by reporters asking if the administration gave Flake “a firm commitment to get DACA done.”
“No. We’re getting taxes done,” Short said, adding that he was “excited” that Flake will be “part of the conversation” on DACA. “He’ll be a great voice,” he said.
Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.