Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who had promised earlier that what was expected to be a free-for-all immigration debate has kept a firm hand on the wheel so far. McConnell indicated on Tuesday that the debate would be concluded at the end of the week. Therefore, if the Congress fails to resolve the issue within the next 48-72 hours, the immigration reform will fall short once again.
The proposal set forth by the GOP members is in line with President Donald Trump’s four-point immigration plan. So far, McConnell has influenced the process in the upper chamber significantly.
The proposal by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. is also backed by McConnell. Several other Republicans, including Tom Cotton (R-Ark), would codify President Donald Trump’s move to restrict the family-sponsorship visas as well as the diversity visa lottery program.
“I believe it deserves [the] support of every senator who’s ready to move beyond making points and actually making a law,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
GOP lawmakers say McConnell’s support for the Secure and Succeed Act will have an impact on the debate.
“Anytime you have the majority leader’s support, that helps the legislation,” said Cotton. “It shows positive momentum that we’re adding Republican senators as sponsors and especially the majority leader.”
“This is an issue we’ve been talking about literally for years,” he added, noting that GOP negotiators have recently “spent three months talking to the Democrats about this.”
“Do you think he wants to get a result?” asked one Democratic lawmaker. “That doesn’t sound like an open process.”
A senior Democratic aide said, “How freewheeling it is an unanswered question,” referring to the floor debate.
When addressing immigration last week, McConnell said: “anyone who gets to 60 [votes] wins.”
“I’m not trying to dictate to them what they offer. They shouldn’t be trying to dictate to us what we offer. Let’s just get started,” he said.
“Sen. Durbin was quoted this morning saying his goal was to get all Democrats and 11 Republicans to vote for a bill in the Senate, but I would just point out that is not a pathway to success,” said Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas).
“That says nothing about what happens in the House and that says nothing about the necessity of a presidential signature,” he added.