Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) joined 13 senators in writing to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to object to the Leader's handling of the 1,000-plus page immigration bill currently under consideration. Despite the filing of over 300 amendments, the Senate has held only nine votes on the legislation.
In their letter, the senators write:
"After repeated promises of a full and open amendment process on the floor, we have had nine roll call votes on amendments to the Gang of Eight's 1,076-page immigration bill. Nine. And there is the prospect of a full shut-down of amendment votes after today. This is deeply, deeply disturbing. It is effectively shutting down the American people's ability to be heard on this issue through their elected representatives."
In addition to Senator Coats, the letter was signed by Senators David Vitter (R-La.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The full letter follows:
June 24, 2012
Dear Senator Reid:
After repeated promises of a full and open amendment process on the floor, we have had nine roll call votes on amendments to the Gang of Eight's 1,076-page immigration bill. Nine. And there is the prospect of a full shut-down of amendment votes after today.
This is deeply, deeply disturbing. It is effectively shutting down the American people's ability to be heard on this issue through their elected representatives.
It seems that as soon as a path to passing this bill was identified, an already very slow, halting amendment process was purposely interrupted with histrionics and shut down.
Now the Corker-Hoeven amendment has turned into a virtual full substitute for the bill (1,187 pages). Supporters have been collecting yes votes as the price of admission into that back negotiating room, and all other amendments will likely be denied even a vote.
By point of reference, there were 46 roll call votes on floor amendments to the 2007 immigration bill, which was significantly stronger on enforcement.
We believe that there should be, at a minimum, this same number of roll call votes on serious, contested floor amendments on the Gang of Eight's immigration bill. This can clearly be accomplished this week with a little leadership and coordination through one or more compact series of 10-minute votes with senators seated at their desks.
Further, we will give our consent to any reasonable consent request if this is assured. This would specifically include replacing the one or two cloture votes and one final passage vote on the bill with one final passage vote with a 60-vote threshold late Thursday, as well as clearing all truly non-controversial amendments.
We urge you to ensure a serious, extensive floor amendment process, which you and the Gang of Eight promised.