Senate Democrats withdrew a pro-LGBT amendment to the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill due to fears that the legislation would prove fatal to the larger immigration package.
“It is with a heavy heart,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said, that “I will withhold the Leahy amendment seven at this point.” Leahy pushed for “allowing American citizens who are in long term committed relationships to sponsor their foreign partners for green cards.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who led the Democratic members of the Gang of Eight, advised Leahy to pull the provision. “I cannot support this amendment if it will bring down the bill,” Schumer said. “I’m a politician,” he added, explaining that politicians must compromise on certain issues to achieve what is possible.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., another Gang of Eight member, reminded his Democratic colleagues that they weren’t the only people who had to avoid a social policy fight in the immigration debate, noting that House Republicans did not try to use the immigration bill as a vehicle for a pro-life amendment that Democrats would not have accepted.
“There were people in the House who believe that there is nothing more precious than life and that life begins at conception,” he said. “They wanted to take a federal definition of abortion that I don’t think would help the [immigration reform] cause in the Senate at all.”