Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyLawmakers talk climate for Earth Day, Science March Poll: Sanders most popular senator in the US Senate Dems offer bill to restore internet privacy rules MORE (D-Vt.) hit President Obama and the bipartisan Group of Eight over the progress of an immigration bill in a statement issued Wednesday, saying closed-door negotiations were delaying progress on a comprehensive bill.
“Because we do not yet have legislative language to debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will not be able to report a comprehensive immigration bill by the end of April, which was my goal,” Leahy said in the statement.
While Leahy chairs the committee through which the immigration bill will travel, he is not part of the group of bipartisan senators crafting a bill. The statement seemed to hint at frustrations with the group, noting that the legislation was being crafted in "secret, closed door discussions."
“For months I have urged the president to send his proposal for comprehensive immigration reform to the Senate,” Leahy said. “I understand he has delayed releasing it at the request of a few senators who are engaged in secret, closed-door discussions on their own proposal and who committed to completing it by the beginning of March. That deadline and others have come and gone.”
Leahy added that the group had delayed legislative work on immigration reform "at least a month."
The Judiciary Committee has been busy, however. On Wednesday, it held its second hearing of the week on potential immigration reform.
Leahy's statement comes a day after a group of Republicans sent him a letter urging the senator to slow the bill's path through Congress. That letter, signed by Sens. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsHouse panel refers Clinton server company for prosecution Sessions to keep up fight on sanctuary cities despite legal setback Suspended Alabama judge running for Senate MORE (R-Ala.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyComey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee GOP to kill language exempting staff from new ObamaCare repeal bill House cyber chairman wants to bolster workforce MORE (R-Iowa), Mike LeeMike LeeObamaCare must be fixed before it collapses Trump signs order to end 'egregious abuse' of national monuments Trump takes aim at Obama monuments MORE (R-Utah), Ted CruzTed CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Defense: Senators go to White House for North Korea briefing | Admiral takes 'hit' for aircraft carrier mixup | Lawmakers urged to beef up US missile defense Senators get North Korea briefing in unusual WH visit MORE (R-Texas), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchOvernight Finance: Inside Trump's tax plan | White House mulls order pulling out of NAFTA | New fight over Dodd-Frank begins GOP leaders, top tax writers: Trump principles will be 'critical guideposts' Senators push 'cost-effective' reg reform MORE (R-Utah) and John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record MORE (R-Texas), warned fast-tracking immigration reform was "a prescription for a real problem.”
“The last time Congress considered legislation of this magnitude that was written behind closed doors and passed with no process, it resulted in sweeping changes to our healthcare system, the negative consequences of which are only now coming to light,” the six GOP senators wrote.