Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Right now, there are some differences between the Senate and House bills that need to be ironed out before the legislation can move forward. Indiana House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer (D) seems to be hedging a little about if he will appoint conference committee members (e.a.):
"Eventually, I probably will, but we want to know some of the intent," Bauer said. "My suggestion to (the Senate) would be to concur (on the House version). It's a bill that does not have huge loopholes in it like the one sent over here."Asked whether he would concur on the House bill, Senate President Pro Tempore David C. Long, R-Fort Wayne, said, "I think there's some questions about the funding," referring to $1.5 million added for the attorney general and State Police."There's a great deal of money poured into the bill which wasn't discussed here in the Senate. There are legitimate concerns on both sides of the issue about what the proper language will be and who should ultimately be responsible for hiring an illegal immigrant."
Pelosi seems like she wants to avoid a vote on this act, and it does seem as though she may fear being caught over a barrel: she doesn't want this bill to pass, but she doesn't want to endanger House Democrats who vote against this measure (and she does seem to think that voting against this measure may endanger some members). Especially as this bill focuses on employers, it may make Pelosi especially uncomfortable.
House Republicans are eyeing a bill by Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., that would do just that, as well as mandate that employers verify that their workers are in the U.S. legally.
Leaders are expected later this week to use a parliamentary tactic that would eventually force a vote on the measure if 218 lawmakers — a majority of the House — demand it. Republicans are pressuring Democratic backers of the measure — including several first-termers and dozens from swing districts, all facing tough re-election fights — to defy their leaders and sign the petition.
"Lots of Republicans and lots of Democrats would like to see something done," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the No. 2 whip, said Friday.
The move would be a rebuke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who opposes the Shuler bill unless it's paired with measures to allow undocumented workers a chance at legal status and allow legal immigrants to bring more family members to the United States. Democratic leaders have been working behind the scenes to craft an alternative that could dissuade their more conservative members who back Shuler's bill from joining the GOP effort to press forward on it.
They are considering pairing a widely popular measure by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to allow more seasonal workers to come to the United States under so-called H-2B visas with proposals aimed at speeding the process of granting immigrants' spouses and minor children visas to join their parents in the U.S., among others. Also under discussion is a bill that would allow nonresident immigrants serving in the military to become citizens.