Vitter, 13 Senators Urge Reid to Allow Immigration Amendments, Don’t Shut Down Process

Say Majority Leader is effectively shutting down voice of American people

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) along with 13 other Senators urge Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to ensure a serious, extensive floor amendment process, which he and the Gang of Eight originally promised.

“There is the prospect of a full shut-down of amendment votes after today,” the Senator’s wrote. “This is deeply, deeply disturbing. It is effectively shutting down the American people's ability to be heard on this issue through their elected representatives.”

Joining Vitter were U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

The text of their letter is below.

BY HAND
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUESTED

June 24, 2013


The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader, United States Senate
United States Capitol, Room S-221
Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Senator Reid:

After repeated promises of a full and open amendment process on the floor, we have had NINE roll call votes on amendments to the Gang of Eight’s 1,076-page immigration bill. NINE. And there is the prospect of a full shut-down of amendment votes after today.

This is deeply, deeply disturbing. It is effectively shutting down the American people's ability to be heard on this issue through their elected representatives.

It seems that as soon as a path to passing this bill was identified, an already very slow, halting amendment process was purposely interrupted with histrionics and shut down.

Now the Corker-Hoeven amendment has turned into a virtual full substitute for the bill (1,187 pages). Supporters have been collecting yes votes as the price of admission into that back negotiating room, and all other amendments will likely be denied even a vote.

By point of reference, there were 46 roll call votes on floor amendments to the 2007 immigration bill, which was significantly stronger on enforcement.

We believe that there should be, AT A MINIMUM, this same number of roll call votes on serious, contested floor amendments on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. This can clearly be accomplished this week with a little leadership and coordination through one or more compact series of 10-minute votes with senators seated at their desks.

Further, we will give our consent to any reasonable consent request if this is assured. This would specifically include replacing the one or two cloture votes and one final passage vote on the bill with one final passage vote with a 60-vote threshold late Thursday, as well as clearing all truly non-controversial amendments.

We urge you to ensure a serious, extensive floor amendment process, which you and the Gang of Eight promised.

Sincerely,

cc: The Honorable John McCain
The Honorable Marco Rubio
The Honorable Jeff Flake
The Honorable Lindsey Graham
The Honorable Bob Corker
The Honorable John Hoeven
The Honorable Michael Bennett
The Honorable Richard Durbin
The Honorable Robert Menendez
The Honorable Charles Schumer
The Honorable Patrick Leahy

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