Gang of 8 to Block Amendments on Immigration Reform?

Posted: Apr 08, 2013 12:11 PM

The Washington Post is out with a report implying the Gang of 8 is working to block amendments to final legislation, delaying   the release of a reform plan:

A bipartisan Senate group on immigration legislation is attempting to craft an agreement so secure that the eight members will oppose amendments to its core provisions, an arrangement that could delay the introduction of a bill, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The senators had said they hoped to present their proposals this week, but Republican members expressed skepticism about that timetable Sunday. The group continues to negotiate issues related to new visa programs for agricultural and high-tech workers and has not reached agreement on a guest-worker program for low-skilled foreign laborers, said the individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

No amendments to a massive immigration overhaul? Really? According to Rubio spokesman Alex Conant, not exactly.

“The legislation that the eight senators are working on is only the start of the process; we expect several committee hearings, a full debate, and an open process for other senators to offer amendments. It’s premature to speculate about what sort of amendments might be offered, but if another senator offers an amendment that improves the legislation consistent with the principles Senator Rubio has outlined, then I would expect members of the group of eight to support it,” Conant tells Townhall.

As a reminder, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has offered to hold one hearing on the Gang of 8 proposal.

"I intend to proceed to comprehensive immigration reform with all deliberate speed. Under the Rules of our Committee, you will have your rights protected to hold over the legislation the first week it is listed on the Committee's agenda. After that, you will have the right to circulate and offer amendments. I hope and expect that you will not delay consideration simply to prevent he legislation from moving forward. Artificial delays, delays for delay's sake, has tainted too much of the Senate's work over the last few years," Leahy wrote in a response letter to Sessions. "After reviewing the record, I am reminded that our Committee held more than 40 hearings in these issues during the four Congresses that preceded this one and before the additional hearings we have already held this year. If Any of the more junior Senators need more time to get up to speed, I will look forward to them discussing their specific readiness problems with me directly and I will do my best to work with them, as well."