Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday heightened his criticism of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, saying the Democrat is rushing an immigration reform bill through Congress.
“We are talking about legislation that will impact virtually every aspect of our society, reshape our entire immigration system, introduce at least 30 million new foreign workers into the economy, and directly impact every single American worker and taxpayer,” Sessions said in a statement released to Newsmax.
Senate negotiators have met “privately for months, in close consultation with the special interests, to draft this legislation,” said the Alabama Republican, a senior member of the committee. “Is the public not entitled to have at least as long to review it before their representatives are asked to vote on it?”
Leahy has scheduled a committee meeting for Friday to hear testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on immigration overhaul efforts. He plans to hold a second hearing on Monday. The Vermont Democrat disputes suggestions that he is moving too fast, noting that the committee already has held three hearings on the issue since the first of the year.
But Sessions contends that two hearings within the span of one week to scrutinize the new bipartisan bill just unveiled this week is not enough. His statement Tuesday is the latest in series of exchanges with Leahy over the time allotted for review and public input.
“Republican senators asked for objective, serious public hearings exploring these complex issues — from the guest-worker program, to border fencing, to law enforcement, to the administration’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion,” Sessions said in his statement.
“Chairman Leahy, with his announcement, has reaffirmed his repudiation of that request for hearings,” his statement said.
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