COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT OF 2007--MOTION TO PROCEED -- (Senate - May 21, 2007)
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Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, voting for cloture is a vote simply to begin the debate on this legislation. Normally, cloture is used to end debate, but here it is to begin.
This is an extremely complicated, comprehensive piece of legislation, worked at on a bipartisan basis over a period of time. It needs to be finalized. I understand there was a modification to the substitute this afternoon, agreed to, I believe, by Senator Kennedy and Senator Kyl. We need to make sure whatever substitute is offered is, in fact, reflective of exactly where this legislation is.
The other point I would make is we shouldn't be in a hurry to finish this bill. Last year, there were 35 immigration amendments. Twenty-three amendments were voted on before cloture and 12 after cloture. This is, by any standard, at least a 2-week bill, and I think any effort to finish up this bill, one way or the other, this particular week would be unsuccessful. This is clearly a 2-week bill.
This is an important subject. I think there is widespread discontent with the status quo in our country on the status of illegal immigration. It is time for the Senate to take this up and to give it adequate time for consideration. Hopefully, at the end of 2 weeks, we will be able to pass a bill on a broad bipartisan basis that improves the current situation.
With that, Madam President, I yield the floor.
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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I appreciate the remarks of the majority leader. It reflects the conversation he and I had earlier this afternoon, where I indicated there was a strong feeling on this side of the aisle that this was a 2-week bill.
Last year when we took up this matter, there were 35 amendments voted on. Twenty-three amendments were voted on before cloture, 12 were voted on after cloture. Clearly, this is an extraordinarily complex and challenging piece of legislation.
So I wish to thank my friend, the majority leader, for realizing this is not going to go anywhere unless we have a full and thorough debate of at least 2 weeks.
I yield the floor.