From the desk of Rich Stolz, Co-Director of FIRM
This afternoon, Senators Reid and McConnell announced that the immigration bill will return to the floor of the Senate following the debate on the Energy Bill. It’s now likely that the Senate will resume debate on S 1348 next week (it appears that Majority Reid may file for a new cloture motion no later than Wednesday, which means that the Senate could resume debate on the bill as early as Friday and continue through the weekend). In order to get to this place, the Grand Bargainers had to come up with a list of no more than a dozen amendments for each side, and agree to set aside $4.4 billion for border security and interior enforcement programs (either as part of a supplemental or as an amendment to the legislation). In either case, the funding deal may end up tying up any revenue coming from the various fees and fines in the bill toward border security as opposed to other purposes already included in the proposed measure.
In the mean time, the campaign in the House is beginning to heat up. FIRM has drafted a letter that we plan to circulate among progressive Democrats in the House to try to lay out a set of clear bottom lines in the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Unfortunately, the White House is also starting to move; word has it that the White House is in the process of identifying a “champion” in the House that would represent the White House in negotiations with the Democrats (taking a play from their Senate play book). The House Immigration Subcommittee still isn’t revealing their cards, but they are gearing up for a fast run at a bill as soon as the Senate wraps up action. The House still plans to have a bill pass the floor before the August recess.