During a forum in Mesa, Arizona, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake announced that they were willing to negotiate with the House of Representatives in order to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform. They also expressed that the House’s piece-meal approach was acceptable as long as the two Chambers would go to conference with their respective pieces of legislation. (Source: CQ Today on Aug. 27, 2013)
However, both members of the Senate Gang of Eight, indicated that citizenship for illegal aliens as part of an amnesty deal is non-negotiable. CQ and MSNBC report that McCain said:
A fundamental principle of this legislation is it has to contain a path to citizenship….We would be amenable to negotiations on various aspects” of how the path to citizenship would work….Ours is not engraved in concrete, but a path to citizenship would have to be a part of it.
Remarkably, the Arizona duo admitted their bill encourages employers to hire amnestied illegal aliens over U.S. citizens. CQ also reports that Flake said:
You have a bit of a quandary here….If we were to say that individuals who come here on a work permit or those who were just made legal had access to federal benefits like Obamacare, you’d have an outcry.
Because amnestied illegal aliens are ineligible for Obamacare under the Senate bill, employers would not be subject to $5,000 in fines for not providing health insurance to amnestied illegal aliens.
Although the House only has 36 scheduled working days left this year and a full agenda of other issues to address, the McCain stated that he thinks there is time to pass an amnesty bill. According to MSNBC, McCain said, “I remain guardedly optimistic that our friends in the House of Representatives will agree to their legislative process and then we can get to conference.”
The Daily Caller also reported that he isn’t concerned about the tight time frame: “I think there’ll be plenty of time to sort it out if we do not succeed.”