This week Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to conclude the debate and amendment process on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) and bring the bill to a final vote on the Senate floor before Congress departs for the Fourth of July recess. Cloture votes are expected early in the week on the border security amendment authored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-SD), a substitute offered by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and the final bill. The four amendments that were pending at the end of last week – Leahy S.A. 1183 (performing arts visas); Boxer S.A. 1240 (National Guard /Coast Guard training programs); Cruz S.A. 1320 (border security requirements); and Reed S.A. 1224 (physical present requirements) – will receive a floor vote this week if they are deemed germane to the bill. As a result of the Corker-Hoeven amendment, the Gang of Eight now expects up to 15 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill, pushing the supporting total closer to a 70-vote supermajority that would pressure the House to adopt the measure.
House of Representatives
Over the last few weeks, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made it clear that the bipartisan Senate bill is dead on arrival in the House. Even with passage of the Corker-Hoeven amendment, his position may not change as many House Republicans do not see a political benefit in their districts to supporting a vote for a comprehensive bill. Moreover, the Speaker has stated that the House will not pass any bill that does not garner a majority of votes in the Republican conference. The bipartisan Gang of Seven continues to draft its final language. Observers remain skeptical that it will produce a bill in time, as the House Judiciary Committee continues to mark up piecemeal immigration bills. It is possible that sections from the draft bipartisan bill could be offered as amendments to the piecemeal bills in committee or eventually on the floor. This week the committee will mark up Republican-sponsored E-Verify and high-skilled immigrant bills. Both are expected to pass on party-line votes.
This Week’s Hearings:
- To Be Announced: This week the House Judiciary Committee will mark up the Supporting Knowledge-based Immigrants & Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act (SKILLS Act, H.R. 2131), introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA).
- To Be Announced: This week the House Judiciary Committee will mark up the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772), which addresses E-Verify and was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).