Back then, the bill was another grand bargain struck by what Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and ardent opponent, called “the Masters of the Universe.”
Led by Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, they tried to fend off all amendments to preserve the core agreement of stiffer border security and a new legal-immigration system in exchange for legalization of illegal immigrants.
Mr. Kyl retired last year, and Kennedy passed away, leaving matters to Sens. John McCain, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake (who won Mr. Kyl’s seat) from the GOP, and Mr. Schumer, joined by Sens. Richard J. Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael F. Bennet on the Democratic side.
The 2007 bill had just enough for everyone to dislike, which helped prompt the bipartisan filibuster that blocked it.
It’s unclear what this year’s bill will look like because the “Gang of Eight” has produced only a five-page framework.
One key question is whether the Gang of Eight will feel obliged to stand together in defending its grand bargain against all amendments, or whether the lawmakers instead will be free to vote their consciences.
The last time, defending the bargain led to striking votes in which Mr. Kennedy, a labor union defender, voted against labor’s wishes, and in which Mr. Kyl voted against stiffer enforcement provisions.
Mr. Sharry said he expects Mr. Sessions, who informally led the opposition in 2007, to try to offer some of those same enforcement amendments to try to divide supporters of the bill.
Indeed, a Republican Senate aide told The Washington Times that the Republicans will home in on security and enforcement amendments and said the bill “faces an uphill climb.”
One of the groups that rallied voters to make phone calls, shutting down the Senate switchboard, has panned the latest effort.
“This is not a serious plan for comprehensive immigration reform; it is a comprehensive special-interest New Year’s wish list, in which everyone gets something except the American people,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations director for Numbers USA. “Unfortunately, all Americans get is the bill, which they will have to pay with their jobs and their tax dollars.”
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Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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