One of the most vocal critics of President Barack Obama's immigration policies appears set to wield the gavel of a key Senate subcommittee.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is in line to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee with authority over immigration law, a move that a source familiar with the situation said was already a done deal although there's been no official announcement. The panel is scheduled to consider its subcommittee assignments and conduct organizational business when it convenes Thursday morning.
"I think Sen. [Charles E.] Grassley's going to announce that pretty soon," Sessions told CQ Roll Call, declining to get ahead of the panel's chairman.
Sessions would only say he was "interested" in the immigration subcommittee, "in the sense that I want to be active on it, and we'll see how that plays out."
Grassley told CQ Roll Call earlier Wednesday that he intended to have one fewer subcommittee than there was under the chairmanship of Vermont Democrat Patrick J. Leahy, although he declined to get into the details of the restructuring before of the formal announcement.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., would be vice chairman of the panel with the immigration portfolio, a source familiar said.
If Sessions in fact becomes the subcommittee chairman with Vitter at his side, the Obama administration will be sure to face persistent questions and criticism about the deferred action policy for classes of undocumented immigrants and other immigration enforcement matters, as highlighted by a statement from the Alabama Republican issued in response to Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
"On immigration, the President remains wedded to a lawless policy that serves only the interest of an international elite while reducing jobs and benefits for everyday Americans," said Sessions. "In effect, the President delivered an address tonight to a Congress whose authority he does not recognize and to a public whose votes he has nullified with an imperial edict. Congress must use every tool at its disposal to stop this unlawful edict, end the immigration lawlessness, and reverse our slide towards congressional irrelevance."
Related: Sessions Warns Obama’s Immigration Plans ‘Unlawful’ (Video) The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.