The bill before the Senate received fair, full and transparent consideration in the Judiciary Committee

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Majority Staff
S. 744: The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
A Fair And Open Process

The Senate has begun floor discussion of S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.  The comprehensive immigration reform bill will make the first truly meaningful reforms to the nation’s immigration system in a generation, and it is the product of hours of markup and debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill before the Senate received fair, full, and transparent consideration in the Judiciary Committee. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act was the most transparent review of legislation in the Committee’s history.  The text of the legislation was made publicly available online weeks in advance of the Committee’s markups.  The text of every amendment considered in Committee, including the sponsors’ amendment, was also made available online. 

The Committee reported the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 13-5.  The amended text of S. 744, which includes all amendments adopted during multiple markup sessions, is available here.

  • The Committee held five days of markups over the course of three weeks in consideration of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, encompassing over 35 hours of debate.  The Committee’s markup sessions were webcast live online, and aired on C-SPAN.  Video is posted on the Committee’s website and can be viewed anytime by the public.
  • The Committee considered a total of 212 amendments, including first-degree and second-degree amendments, and substitute amendments.  More than half of the amendments considered were offered by Republican members of the Committee.  Seventeen of the Committee’s 18 Members authored an amendment that was considered. 
  • Of the 212 amendments considered by the Committee, 141 were adopted.  Every member of the Committee who filed amendments to the legislation was afforded the opportunity to offer amendments.
  • Senator Patrick Leahy, who is managing the legislation on the floor, in a statement Monday, suggested “that [the Senate] try to replicate here in the Senate the fair and transparent process we were able to achieve in the Committee.”

Praise For A Bipartisan Committee Process

“As the Senate debates these and other points in this crucial-but-vulnerable bill, we can only hope that bipartisanship and courage will prevail and that opponents and skeptics finally recognize the cost of failure.” (“Immigration Headwinds,” The New York Times, June 8, 2013)

“Something positively remarkable and historic happened this week: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee sent an immigration reform bill to the full Senate by a vote of 13-5. After decades of ignoring the mindless inhumanity of current immigration law, Congress at last appears poised to act.” (“Immigration Reforms Wins (Some) GOP Votes,” Des Moines Register, May 25, 2013)

“The Judiciary Committee worked in a bipartisan fashion to fight off amendments aimed at killing the bill or making it an empty promise.” (“The Best Chance To Reform Immigration,” Tampa Bay Times, May 24, 2013)

“The Senate committee’s handling of more than 200 amendments — many of them designed to gut, cripple or poison the original legislation — was a model of big-picture problem-solving trumping ideology and partisan grandstanding.” (“Immigration Reform, While Flawed, Moves Forward In Senate,”  The Washington Post, May 22, 2013)

“Everyone complains that making laws is like making sausage: You don’t want to see what goes into it. But when the deal-making happens behind closed doors, cynicism can be the only response. The decision by Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to hold several lengthy open mark-up sessions on the immigration issue is a sign that both Republicans and Democrats see a way through the thicket.” (“Lesson In Democracy,” Barre Montpelier Times Argus, May 11, 2013)

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David Carle: 202-224-3693