Senator Lindsey Graham called Senator Tom Cotton is “sort of the Steve King of the Senate.”
“All I can say is we’re not going to end family immigration for DACA,” Graham continued, “The Tom Cotton approach has no viability here. You know, he’s become sort of the Steve King of the Senate.”
“I like Tom, but on immigration, he’s putting something on the table that there’s just no market for in Phase 1,” he said.
In an interview with MSNBC, Graham, who has advocated for legislative protections for young immigrants, rejected the notion of ending family-based immigration in exchange for enshrining the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into law.
A proposal by Cotton and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) seeks to end so-called chain migration, which allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor family members abroad to come to the U.S.
King, an Iowa Republican, has been a vocal advocate for curbing immigration and ending DACA, an Obama-era program rescinded by Trump last fall.
Graham’s comments came as lawmakers barrel toward a government shutdown amid a struggle to reach an agreement on a spending measure to keep the government running past Friday.
Cotton did not like the comparison though, and fired back.
“The difference between Steve King and Lindsey Graham is that Steve King can actually win an election in Iowa,” Cotton continued, “Look, we had an election in 2016. Immigration was a major issue there and the American people and especially Republican primary voters made it clear that they wanted Donald Trump’s vision of immigration policy, not Lindsey Graham’s. He didn’t make it to the starting line and he didn’t even make it off the kiddie table in the debates.”