Senator Reid Postpones Procedural Vote on CIR

On the evening of Tuesday, May 15, 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed to a second postponement of a critical procedural vote on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation until Monday, May 21.

Senator Reid originally scheduled a procedural vote to allow debate on CIR legislation for Monday, May 14, but then agreed to wait until Wednesday, May 16, to allow a group of Democratic and Republican senators more time to negotiate a compromise CIR bill to bring to the Senate floor. When the senators failed to reach a compromise on Tuesday night, however, Senator Reid agreed to a second postponement, pushing the vote back until Monday, May 21. This second delay leaves the Senate with just one week to debate CIR legislation on the floor before the Memorial Day Recess - when Senate leadership originally hoped to have passed a bill.

At this point, it is unclear what action Senator Reid will take if the group of senators is unable to negotiate a compromise bill by Monday. Earlier, Reid stated that he would proceed using last year's Senate-passed legislation (S. 2611), reintroduced as S. 1348, if negotiations failed to produce an alternative bill. However, Republican senators have balked at the idea of using S. 1348 as the basis for floor debate and threatened to filibuster a procedural vote to allow consideration of the bill.

Although discussions continue between a group of Kennedy-led Democratic senators and White House-led Republican senators, the negotiation process has been challenging and substantial differences remain unresolved. The immigration advocacy community collectively believes that bringing these issues into the light of day, through open Senate debate, would be the most effective way of moving the process forward. Protracted backroom negotiations do not serve the interest of sound public policy and are doubtful to produce a product that comports with the will of the American people.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 07051760.