Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wont pursue comprehensive immigration reform this year because of a lack of GOP support and will instead explore the possibility of pushing through a narrower set of reforms this fall, Democratic aides said Tuesday.
Although the Nevada Democrat remains committed to a comprehensive bill, political realities in the Senate have forced his hand, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. Manley explained that Reid may try to pursue an agricultural jobs measure and the DREAM Act, which provides students who are illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
Reid is still committed to reforming a system that is unfair to the American taxpayer, worker and economy, but that isnt possible without Republican support. In the meantime, he is exploring whether he can pass smaller legislation, such as AgJOBS or the DREAM Act, of which he is an original co-sponsor and longtime supporter, Manley said.
However, Republican support and 60 votes is still needed to address any aspects of our broken immigration system this year, he added.
Sen. Dick Lugar (Ind.) is the sole Republican sponsor of both the AgJOBS and DREAM acts, and if Reid can persuade all 59 Democrats in the Senate to vote for the bills, he could break any GOP filibuster of the measures.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.