“Because we’re going to lose on policy and we’re going to lose politically,” Labrador said. “Democrats are always going to be willing to give more than we are, because they’re always willing to pander more than Republicans are willing to pander.”
Labrador predicted that Boehner would not use the piecemeal approach, saying he thought all the bills would be joined in the end.
The Senate, meanwhile, remained on track to finish up its bill by the end of the week but struggled to reach a deal on amendments, which could determine the final tally. Judiciary ranking member Charles E. Grassley, an opponent of the gang of eight immigration plan, blocked an effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to set up a “vote-a-rama” with 32 amendment votes.
“They don’t want to take tough votes, so they’ve chosen just a few of our amendments to make it look like it’s very accommodating. So, I have to say I feel a bit used and abused in this process,” the Iowa Republican said.
Gang of eight Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York was quick to suggest that the Republican objection came about in a bid to block a vote on an amendment backed by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to enhance the E-Verify system for employment status verification.
Portman’s amendment could have been included as part of a bipartisan catch-all package that won adoption earlier Wednesday, but he reiterated on the floor Wednesday he wants a separate vote to signal the importance of the provision. And his vote appears to hang in the balance.
The Senate earlier adopted, 69-29, an omnibus amendment Wednesday that incorporated strengthened border security provisions and limited debate on the Judiciary Committee’s substitute, 67-31. Absent a deal, a vote to limit debate on the underlying bill will take place Thursday, with a vote to pass the bill no later than Friday afternoon.
The Supreme Court’s decision to toss out the Defense of Marriage Act removed another contentious issue from the immigration debate. Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., has authored an amendment regarding immigration benefits for married same-sex couples.
“With the Supreme Court’s decision today, it appears that the anti-discrimination principle that I have long advocated will apply to our immigration laws, and binational couples and their families can now be united under the law,” Leahy said.
One More March
While lawmakers maneuvered inside the Dome, marchers were chanting outside. The message was simple: “We are current voters, we are future votes, and we will vote.” The warning was clear, as they went by the Republican National Committee headquarters and the headquarters of the National Republican Congressional Committee as well as the Capitol.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.