The bipartisan Senate group working on immigration legislation blew yet another deadline Wednesday when Republican members did not deliver an anticipated briefing to their colleagues during a GOP Steering Committee lunch meeting. Members of the group insisted afterward that they are on track to deliver a bill this week or next.
“We’re really close,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the group, “but probably not this week.”
The so-called “gang of eight” has been unwilling to put a firm time frame on finishing the bill because it is complicated with many elements, and finding agreement and drafting it into legislation is a time-consuming process. But their assurances did not placate conservative GOP senators who are growing impatient.
Their irritation was compounded when Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., scheduled a hearing for April 17 on the yet-to-be-introduced measure. Leahy also said a May 6 markup is “realistic.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said more hearings would be needed to assess the “complex” questions sure to be raised by the legislation.
“That’s not realistic if we’re going to have a serious evaluation of the issues involving immigration,” he said.
Sessions said members of the immigration group “did not seem to be interested” in holding their lunch briefing. “I did not get the impression that there was any interest in pushing to get that done,” he said. “The impression I got was that they hoped to do it next week.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, assailed Leahy for scheduling only one hearing.
(for more, please visit our friends at Roll Call)