Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, faulted Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., for limiting the committee review of the gang of eight’s immigration proposal to just one hearing, scheduled for next week.
“A single hearing scheduled so quickly to discuss legislative language that is not yet even available is completely inadequate for Senators or the American people to get answers to the many questions a bill of this magnitude will inevitably raise,” Lee said in a statement. “We could not possibly have a meaningful hearing with a substantive discussion of what will surely be over 1,000 pages of provisions we haven’t even yet seen.”
Leahy initially told Republicans that he would not allow any hearings on the legislation to take place, but instead rush the bill to the Senate floor within two weeks. Leahy argued that hearings conducted by past Congresses would suffice.
“If any of the more junior Senators need time to get up to speed, I will look forward to them discussing their specific readiness problems with me directly and I will look forward to working with them as well,” Leahy wrote in a letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of the eight senators negotiating the immigration proposal, then joined Sessions in protesting such a compressed schedule.
“A rush to legislate, without fully considering all views and input from all senators, would be fatal to the effort of earning the public’s confidence,” Rubio told Leahy in a letter Easter weekend.
Senate Republicans have requested a months-long process to review the bill. “Many topics are ripe for serious discussion, including the changing demographics of Mexico and other sources of illegal immigration, the effect of a new guest worker program on the economy, the metrics DHS will use to measure border security, and the long-term costs of mass naturalization,” Lee said. “This is not how important, sweeping changes should be made.”