Immigration Legislation Update
As being reported by the media, last night, the Senate voted 45-50 against a motion for cloture, for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation. What a cloture motion does is to limit debate to 30 more hours on the Senate floor, after which time the Senate would have vote on passage of the bill itself. Normally, a vote of this nature signals how a Senator intends to vote on the final passage of the bill. I have attached a complete list of how some Senators voted, I encourage you to take a look at this list and/or contact me to find out how your Senator voted.
Despite the reports by the media this fight is far from over and this bill is NOT dead. A short time ago, I participated on a conference call with Commerce Secretary Gutierrez, Barry Jackson with the White House and more importantly, Senator Kyl (R-AZ). The Administration Officials and Senator Kyl were particularly optimistic with respect to the prospects of this legislation coming back to life and being reconsidered on the Senate floor. In addition, immediately following the vote last night, both Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell made comments on the Senate floor which left the door wide open for the possibility of bringing the legislation back to the floor. The time timeframe for that is unclear. However, this could happen as early as next week.
The compromise package before the Senate was a result of months of negotiation between the Administration and Democratic and Republican Senators across the political spectrum. The fruit of those negotiations was an imperfect package that no stakeholder (including MCAA and the rest of the construction industry) has seen fit to warmly embrace. However, the questions that we have to ask are: Does the compromise improve current law and help the industry meet current and future employment needs? And, is the compromise better than the status quo? At this particular stage in the process, those questions are answered in the affirmative by a thin margin.
With that conclusion in mind, I urge you to contact your Senators to support continuing efforts to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the near future. Members of the Senate are primarily hearing one message from their constituents, "kill the bill" or "punish employers." Because the business community in general has lukewarm support at best for the bill, there are few messages of support for allowing the process to continue. It is imperative that ALL Members of Congress hear from individuals such as yourself who will be affected by this legislation in one way or another, who support this effort.
As previously mentioned, the current product is far from perfect however, we continue to work to improve the bill to address industry concerns. And, depending upon the outcome of what is expected to be an arduous legislative process, we reserve the right to oppose the final legislative package.
We obviously are not giving up, and the obituary is not ready to be written on comprehensive reform. In the next few days I will be circulating a letter to be used for grassroots purposes. In the mean time should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
Thank you for you hard work and support!
About the Author
Jessica Johnson Bennett was the Director of Government Affairs for MCAA. She has an extensive background in public affairs and government relations. Her expertise in strategic planning, PAC management and operations help on key policy issues.