Share This Page

Gang of 8 oozes confidence on immigration bill

| Sunday, March 31, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

WASHINGTON — With business and labor now in agreement, a bipartisan group of senators has resolved all major issues in a pending deal to overhaul the immigration system and aims to introduce it after Congress reconvenes in the second week of April, key lawmakers said on Sunday.

The lawmakers said that while there was no final deal yet, they hope — and even expect — there to be one soon after the measure is put into legislative language so all eight senators in the bipartisan group can review it.

The Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO reached an elusive agreement on a guest worker program late Friday, clearing the way for the writing of a full bill.

The bill will include an earned pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, bolstered border security and ways for business to meet the need for both high-skilled and low-skilled workers.

“With the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and a leader of the so-called Gang of Eight, which has four Democrats and four Republicans.

“We've all agreed that we're not going to come to a final agreement until we see draft legislative language and we agree on that,” Schumer told NBC's “Meet the Press.”

But Schumer added, “I don't think any of us expect there to be problems.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, another member of the group, also appeared on “Meet the Press” and said: “We're committed to this if we can get the language right.”

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another member of the group, said: “I think we've got a deal.

“There are a few details yet,” he said on CNN's “State of the Union” program. “But conceptually we have an agreement between business and labor, between ourselves that has to be drafted. It will be rolled out next week.”

Graham voiced confidence that the bill eventually would be approved by the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives — provided President Obama, as expected, actively rallies support for it.

The Gang of Eight initially planned to have a bill by the end of March, but now plans to introduce it the week of April 8, when Congress returns from a two-week recess.

Republican Sen.Marco Rubio of Florida, another member of the Gang of Eight and a potential 2016 White House contender, said the senators had made “substantial progress” on a deal, but were not yet finished.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.