GOP senators blast Reid over lack of votes on immigration amendments

Fourteen Republican senators have written to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems put immigration front-and-center on convention's first day Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security Super-PAC targets Portman on trade MORE (D-Nev.) and the Gang of Eight protesting the "deeply disturbing" fast-tracking of the 1,000-plus page immigration bill.

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“After repeated promises of a full and open amendment process on the floor, we have had nine roll call votes on amendments to the Gang of Eight’s 1,076-page immigration bill. Nine. And there is the prospect of a full shut-down of amendment votes after today,” the group wrote in a letter to Reid Monday.

“This is deeply, deeply disturbing. It is effectively shutting down the American people's ability to be heard on this issue through their elected representatives,” they added.

At least 350 amendments have been filed to the comprehensive immigration reform bill, but the Senate has held roll-call votes on only nine of them.

Reid plans to strictly limit votes on amendments this week and has scheduled a vote to end debate on the bill Thursday.

The signatories include senators seen as possible “yes” votes for final passage of the bill: Sens. Dan CoatsDan CoatsIndiana GOP taps lieutenant governor to replace Pence GOP rallies to Trump's 'law and order' message after Baton Rouge Indiana Republicans to pick Pence replacement next week MORE (Ind.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonSanders could be secret weapon for Dems The Trail 2016: The newrevolution begins Greens launch M ad buy in Wis. Senate race MORE (Wis.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerTop GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races GOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (Miss.).

Sens. David VitterDavid VitterTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense David Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Former KKK leader David Duke running for Senate MORE (La.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsOur children, our future – bridging the partisan divide Trump starts considering Cabinet Trump tweets: 'Such a great honor' to be GOP nominee MORE (Ala.), Jerry MoranJerry MoranMeet the rising GOP star who already enrages the left GOP warming up to Cuba travel Senate clears FAA authorization bill MORE (Kan.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnThe Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him Coburn: I haven't seen 'self-discipline' from Trump MORE (Okla.), John BoozmanJohn BoozmanTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Senators launch broadband caucus A GMO labeling law that doesn’t require English? No thanks! MORE (Ark.), James InhofeJames InhofeFeds withdraw lesser prairie-chicken protections A GMO labeling law that doesn’t require English? No thanks! Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (Okla.), John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump Hopes dim for mental health deal Overnight Finance: Senate punts on Zika funding | House panel clears final spending bill | Biz groups press Treasury on tax rules | Obama trade rep confident Pacific deal passes this year MORE (Texas), John ThuneJohn ThuneTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense FCC chief pushes phone companies to offer free robocall blocking How the new aviation law will affect your travel MORE (S.D.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyTop senators want details on probe of DNC breach Top Dem Senate hopefuls to skip convention Election to shape Supreme Court MORE (Iowa) and Deb FischerDeb FischerRemembering small business during the presidential election Overnight Healthcare: Health mergers in trouble? | Norovirus in Cleveland | GOP chairman rejects Trump Medicare pricing plan Reluctant lobbyists descend on Cleveland MORE (Neb.) also signed the letter. 


A spokesman for Reid accused the GOP lawmakers of using the floor proceedings as an excuse to oppose the substance of the legislation.

“Sen. Reid takes the concerns of senators on both sides of the aisle very seriously, but the senators who signed this letter are the same senators who have been preventing amendment votes from occurring throughout this process. This letter is nothing more than a transparent attempt to suppress the strong bipartisan support for immigration reform,” said Adam Jentleson, Reid’s spokesman.

Jentleson noted that 212 amendments were considered — and more than 40 GOP-sponsored amendments adopted — during the Judiciary Committee’s mark up in May. 


The group of GOP senators noted the Senate held 46 roll call votes on amendments during the 2007 floor debate on comprehensive immigration reform.   

“We believe that there should be, at a minimum, this same number of roll call votes on serious, contested floor amendments on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill,” they wrote.

The group pledged to give consent to any reasonable request to speed up the floor proceedings if Reid granted additional votes on amendments.

Members of the Gang of Eight, which drafted the base bill, also received copies of the letter.