The bipartisan U.S. Senate panel working on immigration reform could have a bill ready to go as soon as this week, members of the panel said on Sunday. (Photo : Reuters)
A bill that would bring about comprehensive immigration reform across the U.S. could be done as soon as this week, according to some U.S. Senate legislators.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the bipartisan senate panel, which he is a part of, working on immigration reform could be ready to present a bill on immigration reform by the end of the week.
Schumer was on the show with fellow "Gang of Eight" member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and verified that the panel has been working non stop to turn the agreements on the issue into "legislative language, specific legislative language."
"All of us have said that there will be no agreement until the eight of us agree to a big, specific bill, but hopefully we can get that done by the end of the week," Schumer said. "There have been kerfuffles along the way, but each one of those thus far has been settled."
McCain largely concurred with Schumer, whose remarks ran in contrast to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who previously stated that the panel was still not in agreement, adding that reporters that a deal was close to being finalized were "premature" while warning against the dangers of rushing the legislation through congress.
"Arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people's consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren't part of this initial drafting process," Rubio said in a statement last week. "In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret."
McCain, however, felt the opposite way.
"I reject this notion that something is being railroaded through - this is the beginning of the process, not the end of it," McCain said. "The Judiciary Committee will act. There will be amendments. There will be debate. Then it will go to the floor of the Senate. There will be plenty of time for discussion and debate."
At the same time, as Yahoo! News reported, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., another member of the panel, didn't say that the panel would be ready to show the final product of the bill this week, but noted that they were still close to completion, noting it could be a couple of weeks before they are ready to go.
Part of what has helped put immigration reform on the fast track is the agreement reached last week between the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the inclusion of a low-skilled guest worker program that would allow hundreds of thousands of immigrants to work jobs in fields such as construction, nursing and other areas.
With that out of the way, it looks like a deal on immigration reform is closer than ever, which was a goal of President Obama in his second term that he has been attacking aggressively since January.
Senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer told "Fox News Sunday" that the bill the panel is working on is consistent with the one that President Obama has touted, but stopped short of indicating whether the president would sign a bill that would offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that lists securing the border first as a priority before such a pathway could take place.
"What has been talked about in the Gang of Eight proposal is 100 percent consistent with what the president is doing so we feel very good about it," Pfeiffer said. "And they are looking at it in the right way."