Tough House-Senate negotiations over immigration expected
Senate poised to pass measure that includes legalization plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators are betting the U.S. would benefit from giving most illegal immigrants the chance to become American citizens — highlighting their resolve to pass a landmark immigration overhaul.
With approval expected by mid-Thursday, the Senate first had to work through several amendments that did not threaten the overall measure.
“I will be voting for it,” Majority Leader Bill Frist said after senators finished work late Wednesday. Frist, R-Tennessee, said the Senate would have a strong bill to take to negotiations with the House.
Opponents made a last-ditch attempt on Wednesday to derail the bill, contending it violated spending limits. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said the bill would bust the budget. Supporters countered that immigrants will be working and contributing more than they will cost.
“The economy is as good as it’s ever going to get in your lifetime,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. The estimated 12 million immigrants in the country have assimilated into the economy “and it’s humming,” he said. The effort was defeated 67-31.