Republicans, meanwhile, say it’s the Democrats who are gaming the process by trying to pick and choose which amendments to vote on rather than just considering all comers. “We’re going to find out real soon if Democrats are serious, whether they want a solution or whether they just want a campaign issue,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota told reporters. One key divide is simply on the scope of the bill: Democrats want to limit the discussion to DACA and border security, while Republicans are heeding Trump’s insistence that it also include reductions to family-based immigration and the diversity visa lottery. “We continue to believe a narrow proposal has the best chance of passing the Senate and the best chance of being signed into law,” Schumer said during an afternoon press conference. “Once you get outside of the boundaries of Dreamers and border security, experience shows everything runs amok.”

It’s still possible, of course, that a consensus immigration bill emerges from this morass with the necessary 60 votes to defeat a filibuster. A bipartisan group of more than two dozen senators has been discussing a proposal that could break the logjam; it would combine a path to citizenship for Dreamers and funding for Trump’s border wall. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has floated a compromise closer to Trump’s proposal, while other senators have talked about a more limited bill that merely extends protections for DACA recipients for a few years in exchange for additional border-security funding.

Whether any of those ideas can pass through the more conservative House or earn Trump’s signature is unclear. First, though, the Senate has to get moving with its much-hyped debate. The amendment votes could at last begin as soon as Tuesday night. Optimists might say that as long as the groups in search of a solution keep talking, anything is possible. But Manley, for one, isn’t holding his breath for a breakthrough. When I asked for his prediction, he replied: “It’ll fall apart in spectacular fashion.”