McCain: Immigration Bill to Pass Senate 'Overwhelmingly'

Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 06:26 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Sen. John McCain predicted on Wednesday that the sweeping immigration legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate was going to "overwhelmingly" pass with "good, solid" GOP support.

"Oh, it's going to, overwhelmingly," the Arizona Republican told Neil Cavuto on Fox News. "We'd like to see more Republican senators, frankly, than we're probably going to see, but we are going to see a significant number of both Republican and Democratic votes."

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McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is among the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators who introduced the reform bill in April. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last month with amendments, and has been debated on the Senate floor over several weeks.

Behind the scenes, McCain has been lobbying wary GOP senators about the proposed legislation, which contains provisions to increase border security. He said that the climate for immigration reform was far different now in the Upper Chamber than when the bill was first proposed.

"There's no doubt about it. It's vastly different," McCain told Cavuto. "We're going to get in the high 60s number of votes — and we will get a good, solid Republican vote out of it.

"We have made enormous progress," he continued. "Do we have enormous hurdles ahead of us? Yes."

That includes a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where many legislators continue to attack the bill’s assurances on border security and to label the legislation "amnesty."

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky predicted this week that the immigration bill was "dead on arrival" in the House — and Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert has charged that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano "doesn't even have a clue" as to whether the nation's borders are safe from illegal immigration.

McCain acknowledged to Cavuto the difficulty ahead in getting the reform bill through the House.

"We have to work along with the business community, along with the growers, along with the evangelicals — along with this broad coalition — to try to convince our colleagues, in a friendly fashion, that they should take up this legislation, pass it — and let's go to conference," McCain said.

The bill, he noted, had "iron-clad triggers" on border security, including the hiring of 20,000 additional U.S. Border Patrol agents, doubling the current number on duty, and an additional 700 miles of border fencing.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

"This will be the most-well-defended border since the Berlin Wall went down," McCain said, referring to the 1989 dismantling of the barrier that separated West Berlin from East Germany and East Berlin.

"For those people who say this isn't good enough, their problem is not border security," he added. "It's other problems they have with legislation that would bring 11 million people out of the shadows."


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