Beltway Confidential

Mike Lee: Immigration bill shows Harry Reid runs the Senate like a ‘banana republic’

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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, suggested that the U.S. Senate is starting to feel like a “banana republic” legislature because of how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., schedules short-notice votes on major pieces of legislation that most lawmakers have not read.

“It also seems to me to take on a certain character, a certain banana republic quality that we’re asked to vote on legislation, in many circumstances, just hours or even minutes after we have received it,” Lee said on the Senate floor yesterday. “We take on a certain rubber stamp quality when we do that.” Lee was talking about the immigration bill, which Reid is eager to pass now that Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., are close to completing a border security amendment that will likely assure the bill receives 60 votes.

Continuing, Lee said: “I’ve seen a set of very brief bullet points about the Corker amendment, and the bullet points read something like this: Is this amendment outstanding?  Yes. Will this amendment solve our border security problems? Absolutely. Is there any problem presented by this amendment? Absolutely not.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who shepherded the Gang of Eight’s proposal through committee, is going to re-file the immigration bill with the new border security language developed by Corker and Hoeven.

“Reid says senate will vote on Corker-Hoeven on Monday. Still don’t have language,” Lee spokesman Brian Phillips tweeted today. “Been debating this immigration bill since March, and now they are filing a brand new bill to be voted on next week. Outrageous!”

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