The U.S.-Mexico border wall in Nogales, Arizona. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
The prospects for a decisive vote in favor of a Senate plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration system appeared to brighten in the past 24 hours with word that two Republican senators have closed in on an agreement with the Gang of Eight on a proposal to bolster the border security elements of the package.
The deal, negotiated by Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota, could provide the legislation the boost it needs to win 70 or more votes on final passage, which would increase pressure on House Republicans to take up the measure.
Politico’s Burgess Everett, Manu Raju and Carrie Budoff Brown report Corker and Hoeven have started to sell the compromise to fellow Republicans and that the reception has been “good.” They write:
The emerging deal would soften Republican requests for a strict requirement that 90 percent of illegal border crossers be apprehended to hit a “trigger” toward a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but would provide an unprecedented increase in border security funding and officers and a guarantee on finishing the fence along the Southern border, sources said.
Ashley Parker of the New York Times notes that Corker and Hoeven worked with Democrats to address concerns about linking a pathway to citizenship with the 90 percent border security trigger:
According to aides with knowledge of the discussions, the Republicans agreed to make the 90 percent figure a goal rather than a requirement, in exchange for a detailed border security plan that lays out serious assurances of both manpower and resources at the southern border.
“Unprecedented deployment of boots on the ground and commitment to the fence,” explained an aide close to the talks, speaking anonymously to talk candidly about continuing private discussions.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican member of the Gang of Eight, said Wednesday in an interview with Fox News that the new border security provision could be ready as early as Thursday.
“What I can tell you is that I have Republican colleagues here in the Senate that have been working very hard based on the public input that people are getting,” Rubio said. “I know they’re still finalizing that and I’ll leave it to them to announce it because they’ve worked so hard on it. But let me just say that what I think you can expect to see tomorrow is a substantial improvement — a substantial improvement — in the border security parts of this bill.”
In a signal of the delicate political balance Rubio is attempting to strike, and a difficult pathway for the bill in the House, consider a tea party rally near the Capitol Wednesday organized by conservative GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Reporters covering the event found angry activists using words like “RINO” and “traitor” to describe the Florida senator.
ABC News reported that rally attendees “loudly booed Rubio’s name when it was mentioned by several speakers, including Robert Rector, the co-author of a controversial Heritage Foundation report on the cost of the Senate bill. Rector accused the senator of not reading ‘his own bill.'”
And former Florida Rep. Allen West, a hero among tea party voters, said Wednesday he won’t rule out a primary challenge against Rubio in 2016.
While the issue of border security will likely continue to be the main focus of the debate going forward, Politico highlights the fact that many lawmakers also have parochial concerns they want addressed in the legislation.
The NewsHour is holding one-on-one discussions with lawmakers about how they’d like to see the measure shaped.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., told Ray Suarez Wednesday night that the border security amendments that have been defeated on the Senate floor over the last week are “just a delaying technique. “It’s hard to get stuff done in Congress,” he said.
He also hailed the Congressional Budget Office score we wrote about Wednesday showing the bill would cut the deficit. CBO reports “are truly independent and, quite frankly, often very unpredictable,” Kaine said. “[T]hat added a significant bit of data to the proponents and supporters of reform.”
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President Barack Obama “is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants … the most consequential climate policy step he could take and one likely to provoke legal challenges from Republicans and some industries,” the New York Times’ John Broder reports.
The Republican-controlled House Wednesday night rejected a Democratic effort to restore $20.5 billion in cuts to the food stamp program. On Thursday the farm bill is expected to win final passage. And the Washington Post fact-checked lawmakers who say they are living on a food stamp budget.
Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner follows up on her Wednesday scoop, writing this time that, “The fight over a toxic chemical bill announced two weeks before Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s death has gotten deeply personal, with Lautenberg’s widow making calls to Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, to advocate for the legislation.”
Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced her support for same-sex marriage.
In a speech supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., suggested that young children should be taught traditional gender roles in school.
The New York Times profiles the evolution of Ken Mehlman from manager of George Bush’s 2004 campaign and chair of the RNC to same-sex marriage advocate — a pathway he credits former Bush solicitor general Theodore B. Olson for helping him chart.
Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer talked with Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad about the possibility he’ll launch a 2014 Senate bid, and had some nasty things to say about Washington. “Most of the people you talk to are frauds,” and Georgetown “sucks,” Schweitzer said. And Trygstad reports the former governor hasn’t talked with Sen. Jon Tester since before Election Day.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he has learned “that the IRS is preparing to negotiate an agreement with its union” to give employees up to $70 million in bonuses, Politico reports.
Reid Wilson rounds up the strategists and staffers Republicans are picking up for a 2016 invisible primary.
On the Washington Post front page, Karen Tumulty raises the question of whether Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is going mainstream.
And is there a hidden message in this picture of Paul?
The endorsement you’ve been waiting for. The Wu-Tang Klan’s Ghostface Killah picks New Jersey Democrat Roy Cho.
Perry Bacon writes for The Grio that Washington’s “affirmative action” in politics isn’t likely to change.
The Supreme Court is scheduled Thursday to release decisions. There are more than a dozen pending cases, including these big ones: affirmative action in higher education, the Voting Rights Act section 5, and California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which both involve same-sex marriage.
Thirteen years later seems like a good time to recap the graduation advice on inspiration from Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.
It’s true. You’ve heard “You’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it,” for the very last time.
- RIP, James Gandolfini. As this Los Angeles Times obit reminds us, you were so much more than Tony Soprano.
Foreign Affairs Reporter-Producer PJ Tobia wrote this incredible story about 60,000 Eritrean refugees, now Israel’s unwanted.
- Not for the squeamish: Miles O’Brien delivers a detailed report on cicadas. Watch:
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- Jeff Brown interviewed actor John Lithgow and Richard Brodhead, co-chair of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences about a new report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences panel warns that the U.S. could lose its competitive edge in the liberal arts and social sciences. Watch here or below.
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Lawmakers unveiled a statue honoring abolitionist Frederick Douglass at the Capitol.
Don’t miss Gwen Ifill’s Reddit AMA.
- The Fed announced a 7 percent unemployment threshold for easing up on federal bond purchases Wednesday. But not to worry; on our Making Sen$e page, Charles Morris predicts energy and heavy manufacturing will fuel an economic boom not seen in 50 years.
— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) June 20, 2013
gandolfini's best line was in zero dark 30: "we're all smart, jeremy." -perfectly captured the impossible existential choices leaders face.
— Steven Ginsberg (@stevenjay) June 20, 2013
— hari sreenivasan (@hari) June 19, 2013
Trampoline boom in the DC area! http://t.co/1MbnWNc7l9
— Michael Neibauer (@WashBizNeibs) June 19, 2013
Many thanks to all Twitter friends wishing me well on my new assignment in London. It's a dream job and I promise I will do my best for you.
— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) June 19, 2013
— Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) June 19, 2013
Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
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