During her press briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that despite earlier comments from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), the president had not reached a deal on legislation for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Her comments came in response to CBS reporter Major Garrett’s question about whether a bipartisan group of lawmakers, as Flake suggested, reached a deal on DACA.
“There has not been a deal reached yet,” Sanders said before expressing the White House’s optimism that lawmakers could reach one.
“We’re very focused on trying to make sure that happens,” she added. “The president has been clear about what his priorities are in that process.”
Earlier on Thursday, Flake said that a bipartisan group of senators reached a DACA deal protecting young immigrants from deportation.
“We’ve got this bipartisan group, we’re at a deal,” Flake said, according to NBC News.
But two other members of that group later cast doubt on Flake’s assurance.
While a spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the talks were still ongoing, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) flatly denied a deal existing.
“There’s no deal” Cornyn reportedly said.
Sanders indicated during her press briefing that she was unaware of what Flake referred to when he suggested the senators reached a deal.
“I can’t speak to the specifics of Senator Flake. I can tell you that a deal has not been reached,” she said.
Her exchange came as both parties attempt to find a compromise on DACA legislation, which the president said he wouldn’t approve without border wall funding.
Even if Flake’s group crafted a deal with a border wall, it’s unclear whether congressional Democrats would accept it.
In an interview on Sunday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) told MSNBC that he and “most Democrats’ would vote against a DACA bill that includes border wall funding.
He clarified that he could only speak for his chamber — the House of Representatives — but suspected the “overwhelming majority” of Senate Democrats would also oppose border wall funding.
Watch Sanders make those comments below, via Fox News.