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Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCAIN. Will the Senator yield for a question?


Mr. McCAIN. My understanding is that there were 17 amendments that were just proposed by the majority leader, and it was opposed by the Senator from Iowa because we were not allowing votes. Did I hear correctly that after a unanimous consent request for 17 Republican amendments--1 of them very critical to the Senator from Montana and the Senator from Ohio because of E-Verify, which is something which is a fundamental key to making sure that those 40 percent of the people who are in this country illegally, who did not cross our border but came on visas and overstayed--and then it is my understanding that after those 17 votes, with 10 minutes allowed for each side, if I understand the unanimous consent request by the majority leader, then we would do 17 more and even 17 more, if necessary. Yet the Senator from Iowa says we are not allowing amendments.

I have to say, I think in honesty, if I would ask the Senator from New York this, there was a delay of a couple days there that was unnecessary, which frankly was from the other side. But to somehow allege that the rights on this side of the aisle are being abridged, when there is a unanimous consent request to have 17 votes right now with 10 minutes in between--perhaps the Senator from New York can explain to me that logic.


Mr. McCAIN. Would the Senator yield? The Senator from Iowa may allege that the amendments he wants considered are not in that package. I would ask the Senator from New York, and perhaps the majority leader, would we then agree to have votes on the amendments the Senator from Iowa wants? This is a beginning and something we could continue to vote on as long as it takes.

When we were doing the budget, we stayed up all night. That was another great moment in the history of the Senate. Again, I am not saying all amendments are not equal. But I think it is pretty clear that the Senator from Montana and the Senator from Ohio Mr. Portman have a very important amendment that has to do with E-Verify, a fundamental of this legislation.

We can assure the American people that the magnet disappears because of the certainty of penalties for employers, which is embodied in E-Verify, which the Senator from Ohio has spent weeks on. Only a nerd such as the Senator from Ohio could come up with the absolute detailed and absolute complete and comprehensive approach to E-Verify, a man I admire enormously.

Anybody who could be the Director of the budget has to be a nerd, as we know. But I admire the work of the Senator from Ohio, along with the Senator from Montana. Is there anyone who would disagree that what the Senator from Ohio and the Senator from Montana are proposing would not improve the bill enormously and the confidence of the American people that we can verify whether someone is in this country illegally and applying for a job?

I guess my other question is, if the Senator from Iowa does not like the list that the majority leader read from, why do we not do some of the other amendments or are we not going to do any amendments? Finally, may I say to my friend from Ohio, I have the greatest respect for his intellect and his capabilities. I know he knows I was just joking with my comments.

As a personal aside, when I was practicing for a failed run for the Presidency, the Senator from Ohio played my opponent, and I began to dislike the Senator from Ohio enormously. He did a great job, as he did in the last election.


Mr. McCAIN. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. McCAIN. Will the Senator yield for a question?


Mr. McCAIN. It is my understanding the Senator from Ohio, it is true, worked for weeks, literally consulting industry, consulting labor, the best high-tech people in America, and has come up with these fixes which all of us, no matter how we are on this issue, agree would dramatically improve our capability to make sure if anyone is in this country illegally before they obtain a job.

Maybe it might be helpful to our colleagues if the Senator could describe for a couple of minutes, if he would, what he has been through in this process of coming up with this product to make sure this is a system that can work. I am not sure people are aware of that.

Again, I say only someone with his background, knowledge, and expertise, in my view, could have come up with this amendment, along with the Senator from Montana.


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