Senate Passes FY2009 Budget Resolution; Considers Immigration-Related Amendments

Early Friday, March 14, the Senate adopted its fiscal year 2009 budget resolution (S Con Res 70) after a 15-hour amendment marathon session. Though this resolution is based on non-binding budgetary assumptions and does not become law (therefore not requiring the President's signature), it is does require Congress stay within its limits and serves as a blueprint for the actual appropriations process. However, no new spending is provided until Appropriation bills are enacted.

Among the amendments passed, tabled, and dropped were a number immigration-related amendments, as follows:

Amendments disposed of by roll-call votes:

- Kennedy amendment to increase funding for the Department of Education's English Literacy-Civics Education State Grant program, with an offset (#4350) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 95-2.

- Alexander amendment to take $670,000 used by the EEOC in bringing actions against employers that require their employees to speak English, and instead use the money to teach English to adults through the Department of Education's English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant program (#4222) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 54-44.

- Menendez amendment to establish a reserve fund for immigration reform and enforcement (#4259) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 53-45.

- Sessions amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund for border security, immigration enforcement, and criminal alien removal programs (#4231) was agreed to by a roll-call vote of 61-37.

Tabled amendment:

- Vitter amendment to create a reserve fund to ensure that Federal assistance does not go to sanctuary cities that ignore the immigration laws of the United States and create safe havens for illegal aliens and potential terrorists (#4309) was tabled to by a roll-call of 58-40.

Amendments accepted by voice vote:

- Dole amendment to increase amounts budgeted for States and local governments for expenses related to immigration enforcement training and support under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, with an offset (#4208).

- Reid amendment to establish a reserve fund for studying the effect of cooperation with local law enforcement (#4373).

Amendments accepted by unanimous consent as part of managers packages:

- Biden amendment to increase FY 2009 funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by $100 million, with an offset (#4166).

- Feinstein amendment to provide for a total of $950,000,000 in outlays for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program in fiscal year 2009 (#4225).

- Leahy amendment to add a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation that improves the participation of naturalized citizens in the US political process, strengthens national security by improving and expediting FBI security name checks, and reduces the backlog of naturalization applications for individuals seeking to become naturalized citizens (#4270, as modified).

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 08031442.