Reid Requires 60 Votes for Grassley's Border Security Amendment

Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 08:55 PM

By Greg Richter

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid objected to an amendment to the immigration bill that would require border security, thus requiring 60 votes for passage.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wanted an up-or-down vote on his amendment requiring the border to be secured for six months before legalization of illegal immigrants could begin.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, expressed surprise at Grassley's request for 50-vote majorities of the amendment, along with five others, reports.  "How many times have we heard the Republican leader say on this floor and publicly that the new reality in the United States Senate is 60?" Reid asked.

"So, I just thought I was following the direction of the Republican leader," he continued. " I mean, this is what he said. That’s why we’re having 60 votes on virtually everything. And with this bill, with this bill, no one can in any way suggest this bill is not important and these amendments aren’t important. So, I care a great deal about my friend, the ranking member on this committee, but I object."

Grassley wasn't happy, saying that Democrats promised the immigration bill would be open and "regular order."

"So I have to ask, who is obstructing now?" Grassley said. "There is no reason, particularly in this first week, at the beginning of the process, to be blocking our amendments with a 60-vote margin that’s required when you suppose there is a filibuster."

Republicans hope to get amendments passed with simple majorities, while Democrats fear the bill's demise if it is loaded with GOP amendments making it more conservative.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., feared amendments from both sides of the aisle being offered on the first day of debate.

"These amendments represent important changes to an important piece of legislation and we can’t just throw up a bunch of amendments here at the beginning," Politico quoted Sessions. "People haven’t had time to digest them."

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