House Republicans who spent months carefully crafting an immigration reform plan found themselves not rounding up votes on Friday but refreshing their phones to see if a presidential tweet would blow up the entire effort.
President Donald Trump had just thrown a wrench in months of immigration talks, saying in an early morning interview with Fox News he "certainly won't sign" the all-GOP compromise immigration bill.
As a result, House Republicans who had planned votes on two immigration bills next week went home unsure what would come next. The House does not plan to return to Washington until late Tuesday.
Don't fret, Republicans said, the president will surely clarify his remarks.
"I think if we get that clarification then I think we're still good to go," said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, one of the Republicans who had earlier considered forcing a series of immigration votes on the House floor against the wishes of GOP leaders.
Three hours later, the tweet came.
"The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda," Trump tweeted. "Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!"
Trump's tweet didn't acknowledge the most important part of any deal for Republicans like Miami Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart: a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as young children.
Democrats hate the all-Republican immigration deal hatched this week. Staunch conservative Republicans are balking at the deal, too.
The deal now hinges on Trump's support, or lack of it.
"This bill will be difficult to pass with Republican votes only unless President Trump says that he is considering supporting it, that might be good enough, even if he doesn't say I will sign it," said Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "If you're a Republican and you're facing a challenging political environment and the president who is very popular in your district, not mine, says that he's against this bill why in the world would you vote in favor of it?"
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