Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Leahy Warns Sessions to Play Nice on Immigration

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Leahy, above, sent a stern letter to Sessions warning him not to hinder consideration an the immigration overhaul and defending his stewardship of the Judiciary Committee.

“Under the Rules of our Committee, you will have your rights protected to hold over the legislation the first week it is listed on the Committee’s agenda,” Leahy said. “After that, you will have the right to circulate and offer amendments.”

He also urged Sessions to not take any dilatory actions.

“I hope and expect that you will not delay consideration simply to prevent the legislation from moving forward,” Leahy wrote. “Artificial delays, delays for delays’ sake, has tainted too much of the Senate’s work over the last few years. That obstruction has contributed to the historically low esteem in which Congress is held by the American people.”

Leahy also noted that Republicans have criticized Democrats in the past for a lack of transparency, even when they do hold hearings and long markups, such as when Congress considered the health care overhaul.

“But, again, it was not lost on me that despite the countless hours of public hearings and marathon sessions of public markups in multiple committees on the Affordable Care Act, that fact did not prevent claims that somehow it was not a transparent process,” Leahy wrote. “You raise that, again, in your recent letter.”

In a statement at an immigration hearing last week, Leahy announced that because the group of eight had not yet unveiled its bill, that it was unlikely that the committee could mark up the measure before the end of April.

Leahy also had hoped to broaden the discussion to those on the committee, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s immigration policy, because so far only the eight senators have been privy to the negotiations and only some of them sit on Judiciary.

The group of eight hopes to unveil its bill the week of April 8 and intends to reach out to Leahy to encourage him to hold a markup as soon as possible after the bill is released.

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