Reid confirms immigration bill will go through “regular order” in the Senate
The bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill will go through “regular order” in the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed on Thursday.
“President Obama has made immigration reform a top priority, and it’s my top priority,” said Reid. “I’m committed to getting this bipartisan [framework] that we now have before us over the finish line.”
Going through “regular order” means that the bill will be debated and marked up in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
“The committee process is crucial. It allows us to test what we’ve come out with with a broader range of members and out in the public, and that’s a good thing,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is one of the 8 Senators who crafted the bipartisan immigration reform framework presented on Monday.
Schumer said the committee process will give lawmakers ample time to debate the details and work out any sticking points in the bill.
After the committee process is finished, the immigration bill will be brought up on the Senate floor, where Senators will have another opportunity to submit additional amendments to the bill.
“Once it gets to the floor, I have made a commitment – and I’m telling everyone here – we’re going to have an amendment process. I don’t know how long it will take but we’ll take a lot of time because there’ll be a lot of important issues brought up, there’ll be a lot of discussions brought up,” said Reid. “I may have a number of votes on different amendments in different number of procedural ways. But we’re going to have legislation done in the Senate the way it’s supposed to be done.”
Schumer emphasized that their objective is to pass the immigration bill with an overwhelming majority in the Senate.
“One of our goals is to pass this bill not just with 61 votes or 60 votes – you know, 55 Democrats and 5 Republicans,” he said. “We want a large number of Republicans to be able to vote for this bill because we think that would encourage the House not only to go forward but to pass the bill.”
Schumer said he expects the Senate to draft, debate, and pass the immigration legislation by late spring or early summer.
“That would give the House ample time to take up legislation and pass a bill before the end of 2013,” Schumer said.
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