What’s the Rush on Amnesty, Sen. Rubio?
On Friday afternoon around 2:30 PM, fourteen Senators officially introduced a 1,190-page substitute amendment. On Monday at 5:30 PM, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the motion to invoke cloture (i.e., end debate) on that amendment. For those keeping track at home, that allows Senators (many of whom left town Thursday night), staffers, and the American people less than 75 hours to read, analyze and evaluate this 1,190-page amendment.
(Note: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) used a procedure known as “filling the tree” to ensure no more amendments could be offered to this massive amendment, which like the original Gang of Eight plan was drafted behind closed doors.)
The short time frame stands in stark contrast to Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) repeated pledge for an open and transparent process. On June 11, Sen. Rubio boasted, “Since the bill was introduced two months ago, the open and transparent process it has undergone has elicited constructive criticisms to improve it.”
Sen. Rubio’s colleagues will not have the same opportunity to evaluate the newest 1,190-page version of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) amnesty plan.
On April 14, Rubio told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “There are eight of us that have worked on this, and we’ve worked very hard. But there are 92 other people with their own ideas.”
We know from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who along with Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) was credited (perhaps falsely) with drafting the amendment, that the Gang of Eight was “involved and very helpful and in particular on the other side of the aisle Senator Schumer and Senator Menendez have been very active.”
On the Senate floor, Reid explained the “product that we have now is the work of the Gang of Eight and the Gang of Two.” Of course, a Gang of Ten means there are still 90 other Senators with their own ideas. Those ideas that are unlikely to see the light of day because Reid is once again blocking amendments, unless they got folded into the new bill. That is no concern for Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), though, who sent a press release bragging how many of his amendments got included in the bill’s rewrite.
As Nancy Pelosi said in January 2010, “there has never been a more open process for any legislation.”