Player of the Week: Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to pass sweeping landmark immigration reform later this week, but there will be some drama between now and then.

A slew of politically sensitive amendments need to be dealt with, ranging from H-1B visas to gay rights. 

Republicans said that Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyMcCabe oversaw criminal probe into Sessions over testimony on Russian contacts: report Graham calls for Senate Judiciary hearing on McCabe firing McCabe firing roils Washington MORE’s (D-Vt.) amendment that would provide equal treatment for same-sex couples would torpedo the entire bill. Leahy has not said he will offer the measure, but if he does, at least one Democrat on the Judiciary panel would have to vote “no” to kill it. 

All Democrats back the spirit of the measure. There is speculation, however, that Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph Durbin'Dreamers' fix blocked in Senate GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone Water has experienced a decade of bipartisan success MORE (Ill.) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmtrak to rename Rochester station after Louise Slaughter Conscience protections for health-care providers should be standard Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise MORE (N.Y.), who are both in the bipartisan Gang of Eight immigration group, might vote against it.

Gay-rights supporters are pressing for the adoption of the Leahy legislation. President Obama has noted his support behind the spirit of the measure, but noted that compromise is the key to passing an immigration bill.

If the gay-rights amendment is rejected, the underlying immigration bill could get anywhere from 12 to 14 votes on the 18-member Judiciary panel.

All 10 Democrats are expected to back the final product, and Gang of Eight Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators introduced revised version of election cyber bill GOP senators push tougher sentencing for synthetic opioid Dems aim to turn ObamaCare hikes into election weapon MORE (R-S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOvernight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate The Hill's 12:30 Report Booker admits defeat in Capitol snowball fight with Flake MORE (R-Ariz.) are firm “yes” votes.

Sens. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFeinstein, Harris call for probe of ICE after employee resigns House Judiciary chair subpoenas DOJ for FBI documents Sen. Gardner won’t let Jeff Sessions tread on Colorado’s cannabis boom MORE (R-Ala.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley on Trump calling Putin: 'I wouldn't have a conversation with a criminal' Lawmakers zero in on Zuckerberg GOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee MORE (R-Iowa), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeConservatives balk over funding bill ahead of shutdown  Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (R-Utah) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzConservatives balk over funding bill ahead of shutdown  Confirmation fight over Trump pick exposes blurred lines in GOP-LGBT activism GOP pushes to change Senate rules for Trump MORE (R-Texas) are expected to vote “no.”

Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Russia report | House lawmakers demand Zuckerberg testify | Senators unveil updated election cyber bill Omnibus includes search-and-seize provision New kid on the tech block MORE (R-Utah) and John CornynJohn CornynSenate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump GOP senator threatened to hold up bill over provision to honor late political rival: report Overnight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate MORE (R-Texas) are seen as possible “yes” votes. Hatch has been working closely with key Democrats on easing employer restrictions on hiring foreign high-skilled workers. If he gets what he wants on the H-1-B issue, he will vote “yes.”

Cornyn, a high-ranking member of leadership, hails from a state that has seen an explosion in the growth of Hispanics. But he and Cruz have voted similarly a lot this year, and Cruz has blasted the bill’s path to citizenship provisions.

Democrats want to get 70 votes on the Senate floor. To do that, they will have to broaden the GOP support beyond the Gang of Eight. The immigration measure will pass the Judiciary panel, but it will have far more momentum if it passes 14-4 as opposed to 12-6.