In both the Senate and the House bipartisan groups are very close to releasing draft immigration reform bills. It is possible we could see some preliminary legislative language as early as next week.
In the Senate the Gang of Eight resolved a major sticking point about guest workers, which should allow the group to finish their draft proposal. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Meet the Press that all the major policy issues have been resolved and they should finish drafting all the possible legislative language this week. If the gang agrees to the draft language it is expected to move quickly to committee.
Similarly, in the House significant progress is being made on a separate plan. According to Politico a bipartisan group of House members hope to release their proposal by next Monday. From Politico:
A small, bipartisan House group is nearly finished with its immigration reform plan, which it hopes to announce the week of April 8 when Congress returns from recess.
But lawmakers and leadership are carefully eying several significant lingering technical issues to bring it across the finish line.
The key issues causing concern are fears about the price tag of immigration reform, the pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants and the process by which a slow-moving House Republican Conference might introduce and vote on a bill that would overhaul the system.
It looks like immigration reform is going to finally move out of the secret backroom phase to the more public mark up phase.
There is still the very difficult task of getting enough significant factions in Congress to agree to a single proposal. By next week we will likely have the parameters of the debate mostly defined. The Senate “Gang of Eight” bill will likely end up serving as the left post and the House proposal will be viewed as the right post. The coming fights and any final deal will most likely fall in that narrow band of options set between these two proposals.
Photo by John D. Rockefeller released under Creative Commons License