By Vicki Needham - 06/11/13 10:40 PM EDT
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted Tuesday that immigration reform would become law by year’s end.
So there is momentum amid some major hurdles.
The measure overall would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, toughen border security, create a guest-worker program and boost high-skilled immigration to fill jobs.
Despite the strong support on the procedural vote, Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Republican Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) have said there will have to be some big changes, including stronger border security language, before they will vote for a final product.
"I’ll vote to debate it and for the opportunity to amend it, but in the days ahead there will need to be major changes to this bill if it’s going to become law," McConnell said.
A similar train of thought emerged from the House.
“I've got real concerns about the Senate bill, especially in the area of border security and internal enforcement of the system. I'm concerned that it doesn't go far enough,” Boehner told ABC News.
Both chambers will have their hands full trying to iron out the multitude of expected wrinkles before getting to a point where a majority will be prepared to send the bill to Obama's desk.
Cornyn will offer an amendment that puts strict requirements on border security before allowing the millions of those already in the country illegally to get on a path to citizenship.
“The bottom line is that if border and national security cannot be guaranteed in this bill, I cannot and will not support it.”
McConnell argued that the provision would “put us in a position where we can look the American people in the face and say we are going to secure the border”.
Reid, on the other hand, said it could kill the bill.
The bipartisan Gang of Eight has put together an 867-page bill that gives each party something to tout, and plenty to grumble about.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a key member of the group working on the legislation, plans to offer an amendment that would require undocumented immigrants to learn English before earning a green card.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said while he supports debate on the bill, it "does not change the fact that I still have very serious concerns about the underlying Senate bill."
“I believe there are ways to improve the base bill, with an eye toward meeting three important goals: first securing our borders, then fulfilling our legitimate workforce needs and determining how we deal with people who come to the country illegally or overstay," he said.
"I plan to co-sponsor several amendments during this debate that would help meet these goals. However, I will not vote for final passage of any immigration legislation that fails to meet these critical objectives.”
Let the debate begin.
WHAT ELSE WE'RE WATCHING
Viva Brazil: A House Ways and Means Trade subcommittee on Wednesday will talk with experts about how to improve and expand the U.S.-Brazil trade and investment relationship.
Housing fix: The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday will continue searching for a path forward on reworking the architecture of the housing market. They will discuss what to do about mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a host of experts. Lawmakers and the Obama administration have talked about ways to wind down the government-controlled firms but plans are still in the works and legislation to overhaul the housing market has yet to emerge.
Economic outlook: The Business Roundtable on Wednesday will announce the results of its second-quarter CEO economic survey, which will provide a glimpse into what the nation's top executives expect over the next six months. Economists are expecting the economy to improve, barring any other unforeseen issues slowing the recovery.
Focusing on Defense: The Senate and House Budget committees on Wednesday will examine the budget request from the Pentagon and discuss the effects of sequestration and sexual assaults in the military with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The base budget is $526 billion, $52 billion above the budget caps under sequestration in 2014.
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee will mark up its defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2014, which would provide $512.5 billion in non-war funding, a decrease of $5.1 billion below the fiscal 2013 enacted level and $3.4 billion below the president’s request. This is approximately $28.1 billion above the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts.
On a similar tack, the Senate Armed Services Committee will start what is expected to be, at least, a two-day closed markup of the defense authorization bill. The White House threatened Tuesday to veto House’s version of the authorization measure that is on the floor this week.
Cybersecurity: Senate appropriators will spend Wednesday discussing the government’s needs on the threat of cybersecurity with top military and government officials.
Tourism jobs: A House Small Business subcommittee will address the seasonal employment needs of small tourism businesses and H-2B visa policies with state and national tourism officials.
Raising capital: A House Financial Services subcommittee will chat with experts on how to reduce barriers to capital formation for small businesses.
Next up for OMB: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will sit down with Howard Shelanski, who has been nominated by President Obama to be administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Spending policies: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will tackle problems with government agencies effectively employing suspension and debarment policies that avoid the waste of taxpayer funds. The General Accounting Office, which will testify at the hearing, has found in years past that various federal agencies have awarded money to contractors that have criminal convictions and federal tax liabilities, among other issues.
Fiscal matters: Several policy groups will hold a summit on tax, budget and healthcare policies featuring some top congressional lawmakers, including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Making an investment: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday to make permanent the New Markets Tax Credit program. The program provides private investors with a 39 percent federal tax credit for investments made in businesses or economic development projects in some of the most distressed communities in the nation. The bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
"The New Markets Tax Credit Program has already had a positive impact in Missouri, leading to more than $2 billion in investments and thousands of jobs,” Blunt said. “I’m glad to support this bipartisan bill to make this tax credit permanent so that we can continue to encourage investment, growth, and job creation in low-income communities nationwide.”
Congress first authorized the program as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000. The fiscal-cliff deal included a two-year extension of the tax credit program with $3.5 billion in annual credit authority provided for 2012 and 2013.
MBA Mortgage Index: The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly report on mortgage application volume.
Treasury Budget: The Treasury Department releases its May budget data, which is used mostly by the market for year-over-year changes in receipts and outlays.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Chairman Issa: Release of full IRS transcripts would be ‘reckless’
— Senate Finance approves Froman to head trade office
— Consumer watchdog eyes overdraft fees
— Optimism edges up for small businesses
— White House opposes rule reining in Dodd-Frank
— CBO: Debt-limit boost can wait until possibly November
— Democratic freshmen oppose fast-track trade powers for Obama
— Options exchange settles SEC allegations
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