More than half of the Senate GOP conference voted against the immigration reform bill.
Leading critics of the bill complained that it repeated the mistakes of the last major immigration reform in 1986 by granting “legalization before border security.”
Some GOP senators also complained that there wasn’t a “fair and open” amendment process during floor debate. Only 14 amendments were considered, several of which were Republican amendments on border security measures that the Senate shelved.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) argued the bill would increase U.S. unemployment and reduce wages by flooding the country with cheaper labor.
“How can we vote for a bill that our own [Congressional Budget Office] says will reduce average wages in America for 12 years, increase unemployment for seven years and reduce per capita [gross national product] growth over 25 years — all this at a time of high unemployment, falling wages and surging welfare, disability, and dependency," Sessions said.
Grassley said he hoped the House would do a better job with its own bill.
“The House of Representatives is going to be the deliberative body on immigration reform and it’s going to put the Senate to shame,” Grassley said.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the House would not pass any immigration reform legislation that does not have the support of a majority of Republican members.
Senate Democrats have warned House Republicans that a bill without a pathway to citizenship was not an option.