The omnibus immigration amendment filed on the Senate floor Friday wouldn't just spend more money on border security. It also would appropriate $1.5 billion to help young people find jobs.
That's billion with a 'B' thanks to the inclusion of a provision offered by Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., in the almost 1,200-page bundle of amendments that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., assembled Friday.
"At a time when real unemployment is close to 14 percent and even higher among young people and minorities, it is absolutely imperative that we create millions of decent-paying jobs in our country," Sanders said in a statement. "The establishment of a youth employment program for 400,000 young people is a good step forward but in the months to come we must do even more."
According to Sanders' office, the $1.5 billion would be applied over two years. The money would come out of the general treasury but would presumably be paid for out of the $197 billion the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would save over the next decade.
It would provide the funds to the Labor Department for both summer and year-round employment for lower-income youth through approved state plans, according to the text of the amendment.
Sanders has spoken on the Senate floor in opposition to some provisions of the immigration overhaul drafted by the "gang of eight" senators. He says that his amendment would help counter guest worker and summer work travel programs.
Earlier in the week, he told CQ Roll Call that it was too early to say how he might vote on limiting debate on a final package.
The omnibus amendment that includes the Sanders language is highlighted by provisions spearheaded by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., to provide a "border surge" of personnel and technology. Supporters say that thanks to the amendment, the final bill could get upward of 70 votes.
The amendment faces a debate-limiting cloture vote on the evening of June 24, after Reid filed a cloture motion Friday afternoon.