Reid: ‘We can pass this bill before us’

Reid said senators are still working on an amendment agreement, but even if one isn’t reached by noon, the Senate will vote to table another GOP amendment. The only two Republican amendments pending are from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

On Wednesday, Reid forced an agreement to hold votes on a handful of amendments after requesting a vote to table a border security amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

The Senate is considering the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Reid said there is “no reason” why the Senate can’t meet his goal of finishing work on the bill before the July 4 recess.

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.

Republicans have complained that the legislation would provide amnesty in 13 years for the nearly 11 million illegal residents before strengthening border enforcement. 

Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are working on a border security amendment that could lure more GOP support for the bill. Reid said he’s open to accepting that agreement as long as it doesn’t harm the pathway to citizenship.