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Schumer: Cornyn Border Security Amendment A 'Non-Starter' And We Are Not Negotiating With Him

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AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

"We cannot accept the Cornyn amendment," Schumer said. "I've told John that already. The way it would change the triggers would jeopardize the path to citizenship. You should tell the people you're lobbying that that is not going to happen. There may be other amendments dealing with the border that we can accept but not that one."

The source close to Schumer adds, "Schumer likes Cornyn a lot personally, but he spent the first two years after President Obama's election in 2008 trying to work with Cornyn on an immigration reform bill. He's impossible to get to 'yes' on this issue."

On the Senate floor Monday night, Schumer told Cornyn "you know full well that [your amendment is] a deal killer," and that other Republicans are kicking around border security ideas that might ultimately be amenable to Democrats. But because Democrats don't consider Cornyn's vote gettable, there have been no staff- or member-level discussions since then.

Republican leaders have suggested strongly that Cornyn's amendment is critical, and may be the deciding factor for a number of GOP members. Cornyn himself has suggested that if his amendment fails, the bill will go down.

That has all the hallmarks of a tough public negotiating stance, but Schumer's remarks today suggest Dems think it's a bluff.

Cornyn's staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com