The Senate voted 82-15 on Tuesday to end debate on a motion to proceed to a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Senators are expected to vote in an hour to proceed to the bill, which will launch a weeks-long floor debate on immigration reform.
Three of the four Republican members of the Gang of Eight — Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio wades into Trump-Lewis feud 19 companies that Trump has tweeted about Ex-Dem gov: I would have picked Giuliani over Tillerson MORE (R-Fla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Graham9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for UN leader willing to meet lawmakers amid push to cut funding GOP lawmaker: Calling Putin a war criminal could lead to conflict with Russia MORE (R-S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeff Flake9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for The road ahead for America’s highways Graham, Durbin reintroduce bill to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (R-Ariz.) — were joined by more than 20 other GOP senators in voting to advance the debate. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTrump's navy build-up comes with steep price tag 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for Flawed Democratic idealism MORE (R-Ariz.) supports the measure, but missed the vote. That strong support is expected to dwindle if certain amendments aren't agreed to.
McConnell and Sens. John CornynJohn CornynTrump opens can of worms with blast at drugmakers Senators wrestle with whether to back Tillerson Senate takes first step toward repealing ObamaCare MORE (Texas), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (N.H.), Deb FischerDeb FischerRight renews push for term limits as Trump takes power GOP makes pitch for replacing ObamaCare Live coverage: The Senate's 'vote-a-rama' MORE (Neb.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanSchumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal Trump, House GOP could clash over 'Buy America' US launches trade case against China over aluminum subsidies MORE (Ohio), John ThuneJohn ThuneWhy Trump should abolish the White House faith office Trump’s infrastructure plan: What we know Senate takes first step toward repealing ObamaCare MORE (S.D.), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchDems push for outside witnesses at Mnuchin hearing Live coverage: The Senate's 'vote-a-rama' Republicans scramble on ObamaCare replacement plan MORE (Utah), Jeff Chiesa (N.J.), Roger WickerRoger WickerFive takeaways from Chao’s confirmation hearing Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs Ex-Transportation chief: tax writers key to Trump’s infrastructure plan MORE (Miss.), Thad CochranThad CochranGOP senators voice misgivings about short-term spending bill Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything Bottom Line MORE (Miss.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderTrump education pick to face Warren, Sanders 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for Hearing delayed for Trump’s Labor pick MORE (Tenn.), John HoevenJohn HoevenFive regulations that could come in Obama's final days ND senator calls for remaining Dakota Access protesters to leave Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (N.D.), Richard BurrRichard BurrTrump education pick to face Warren, Sanders Senate Intel panel to probe Trump team's ties to Russia Trump's CIA nominee seeks to calm nerves MORE (N.C.), Rand PaulRand PaulSanders, Dems defend ObamaCare at Michigan rally Paul: Medicaid expansion 'the big question' Rand Paul: ObamaCare replacement goal is to insure most people at lowest cost MORE (Ky.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSchumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for Trump could alter Supreme Court for decades to come MORE (Maine), Jerry MoranJerry MoranOvernight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs Senate rejects Paul's balanced budget Republicans add three to Banking Committee MORE (Kan.), Roy BluntRoy BluntTrump told of unsubstantiated Russian effort to compromise him Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs A bitter end to the VA status quo MORE (Mo.), Dan CoatsDan CoatsGingrich: Trump should tell new spy chief to 'thoroughly overhaul' intelligence community Government to begin calling Indiana residents Hoosiers Live coverage: The Senate's 'vote-a-rama' MORE (Ind.), Dean HellerDean HellerPlanned Parenthood poll: defunding vote hurts 2018 Senate Republicans Live coverage: The Senate's 'vote-a-rama' Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs MORE (Nev.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonRight renews push for term limits as Trump takes power Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs Senate poised to confirm Trump's DHS pick after friendly hearing MORE (Wis.), Bob CorkerBob CorkerSchumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal Will Rubio vote for Tillerson? Senators wrestle with whether to back Tillerson MORE (Tenn.), Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (Neb.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump picks Obama nominee for VA secretary Five races to watch in 2017 GOP senators wary of nuking filibuster MORE (Ga.) and Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (Ga.) were the Republicans who voted to advance the bill.
The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.
“There are 11 million reasons to pass common-sense immigration reform that mends our broken system — 11 million stories of heartbreak and suffering that should motivate Congress to act,” Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRyan says Trump, GOP 'in complete sync' on ObamaCare Congress has a mandate to repeal ObamaCare Keith Ellison picks ex-DNC Latino as press secretary MORE (D-Nev.) said Tuesday. “The bipartisan proposal before the Senate takes important steps to strengthen border security. It also makes crucial improvements to our broken legal immigration system.”
Democrats have praised part of the bill that would grant citizenship to young people, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the country by their parents without legal documentation.
But some Republicans have complained that the legislation would provide amnesty over 10 years for the nearly 11 million residents in the country illegally before strengthening border enforcement.
The bill makes permanent legal residence contingent on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) having 100 percent situational awareness at every segment of the southern border and a 90 percent apprehension rate. But some GOP senators have suggested that the bill gives DHS too much say over whether the border is secure, leaving Congress powerless to stop the amnesty program if security measures aren’t met.
Sens. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsBooker will attend inauguration Mega-mergers poised to get green light under Trump WHIP LIST: How many Dems will back Sessions? MORE (R-Ala.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyJeff Sessions will protect life Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes Pence meets with Kaine, Manchin amid Capitol Hill visit MORE (R-Iowa) have said the bill is similar to the last immigration reform measure in 1986 because it “legalizes first and enforces later.”
“In other words the federal government has always said the right things to the American people, but it has never lived up to its promises,” Cornyn said Tuesday. “This is doable, but we need a leverage to compel the bureaucracy and Congress to get the result the American people want.”
Sessions added that because of the way the legislation is written, he believes Gang of Eight members aren’t really serious about border security.
Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinCubs celebrate World Series win at White House HUD finalizes rule to protect children from lead Trump should work with Congress to save 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) argued that wasn’t true, pointing out that the bill authorizes more funding for border security and fencing.
“I know it’s hard to do, but I refuse to accept the idea that the most power country in the world — the country that put a man on the moon — is incapable of securing our border,” Rubio said.
Democratic Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerHHS nominee's stock buys raise ethical questions: report Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal Sanders, Dems defend ObamaCare at Michigan rally MORE (D-N.Y.), Durbin, Robert MenendezRobert MenendezCarson likely to roll back housing equality rule Live coverage: Tillerson's hearing for State Booker to join Foreign Relations Committee MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetCorrected — Lawmakers: Trump can't stop investigation of Clinton email case Cory Booker kicks off 2020 maneuvering in the Senate Dems to GOP leadership: Help us to fix ObamaCare MORE (D-Colo.) are also part of the Gang of Eight.
This story was updated at 3:28 p.m.