Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: June 7, 2007
Location: Washington, DC

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - June 07, 2007)

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Mr. McCONNELL. Reserving the right to object--there is objection on this side of the aisle to moving the cloture vote to later today. Let me repeat publicly what I have said earlier, both publicly and privately, to my good friend the majority leader.

Republicans are going to need more amendments. We have had 12 rollcall votes on our side of the aisle on this bill to date. I think, at a very minimum, we need to have the same number of Republican rollcall votes on this bill we had last year. I think we can get there. We are not going to get there by shutting off additional important and worthwhile amendments on this side of the aisle. But it is certainly not my goal to not get this bill to passage, provided we have fair treatment on this side of the aisle.

I do think we made progress last night. I think we can make a lot of progress today. But we are not there yet. So I wish to make it clear that I urge a ``no'' vote on cloture, shortly. But again, having said that, I think we have a chance to get enough amendments processed to possibly finish this bill in the near future.

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I said earlier this week that Republicans would not allow themselves to be stuffed on this bill. The Senate isn't a factory. We don't push things down the line. But one has to wonder whether the Democratic majority has been told otherwise based on the number of times it has moved to stifle debate on important legislation over the last 5 months.

Let's look at the last Congress. On this date in the 109th Congress, Republicans had sought to limit debate only nine times. On this date in the Congress before that, Republicans had filed for cloture nine times. On this date in the Congress before that, Republicans had filed for cloture only two times.

Contrast that with the current regime. To date in this Congress, the Democratic leadership has sought to cut off debate not two times, not nine times, but 32 times.

This is what is called a power grab. But the result won't be power, it will be failure. At this rate, the Democratic leadership will have achieved at least one impressive thing--just one--in the 110th Congress: an all-time record for cloture filings because it is well on pace to shatter the existing record.

There is a saying about courtship: Shoot for two, end up with zero. So far, this would be a fitting epitaph for a Congress that has sought to do much but has accomplished little.

Republican patience was wearing thin before we took up this bill, and we said so, repeatedly. The Democratic leadership knew on a bill of this magnitude, Republicans would do more than complain about it. We would insist that minority rights be honored. They weren't. For this reason I will oppose cloture on the bill and encourage my colleagues to do the same.

Democrats and Republicans have said from the outset that this bill would only pass if it was a bipartisan effort. Once it hit the floor, that meant minority Members would have the chance to be heard through a fair and full amendment process. That is the way to fix this bill.

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, one of the pressing items the distinguished majority leader failed to mention was he filed cloture on the motion to proceed to a motion that would allow us to express our views about the appropriateness of the continued service of the Attorney General. There are plenty of people around here who have had something to say about that. There have been hearings about it, calls for resignation. The distinguished majority leader wants to use up floor time, precious floor time in the Senate so that we can express ourselves on the Attorney General's service, something each of us could do individually at any point we want. That is not exactly a pressing item.

If we want to finish this bill, the message is clear. There needs to be at least as many Republican rollcall votes this time as last year. The way to do that is not to invoke cloture and try to stuff the minority, as has been done 32 times already this year. The way to do that is to process amendments, make it possible for amendments to get pending, continue to discuss them, finish the bill when we get to an appropriate level with our amendments that produces a degree of comfort on this side of the aisle that we have had an adequate opportunity to express ourselves on probably the most important issue we will deal with in this entire Congress. This is no small matter. It is a big issue, a big problem, and it requires broad bipartisan cooperation to bring a bill such as this to a conclusion. Therefore, I urge a ``no'' vote on cloture.