The Senate only had 10 roll call votes on amendments (three were to table amendments) after voting to bring the Gang of Eight's amnesty bill, S.744 to the floor for debate and before voting for final passage. This is quite contrary to the open process promised by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Since the Gang of Eight announced its prinicples in January, Sen. Rubio has made at least 13 statements calling for an open process:
In a January 29 interview with Limbaugh, Rubio promised to walk away if immigration reform efforts became opaque: "The next step in this process is to craft a starting point of legislation, and then after that it's gonna have to go through committees and people are gonna have their input," Rubio told Limbaugh back then. "There's gonna be public hearings. I don't want to be part of a process that comes up with some bill in secret and brings it to the floor and gives people a take it or leave it. I want this place to work the way it's supposed to work, with every senator having input and the public having input."
Letter to Leahy, March 30: "We owe it to the American people to get immigration reform right this time, so that future Congresses and future generations do not face the broken system we see today. A rush to legislate, without fully considering all views and input from all senators, would be fatal to the effort of earning the public's confidence," Rubio wrote. He also said that American support "can only be earned through full and careful consideration of legislative language and an open process of amendments."
Press Release from March 31: "We will need a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments. Eight senators from seven states have worked on this bill to serve as a starting point for discussion about fixing our broken immigration system. But 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. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret."
ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, April 14: "I'm looking forward to the other 92 senators weighing in because I think they're going to make it better. There are eight of us that have worked on this, and we've worked very hard. But there are 92 other people with their own ideas. I've tried to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible given the bills they've filed in the past. If some of them have submitted letters that have outlined concerns, and we have answers for all of those concerns. I look forward to how they can improve this bill and this product."
"I will continue working with my Senate colleagues to schedule more hearings on this important legislation. As we go forward in this immigration debate, we need more openness and transparency that I firmly believe will only help improve this bill and earn the public's confidence that it will truly establish the strongest border security and enforcement measures in U.S. history, modernize our immigration system to help create more jobs for Americans, and deal with our undocumented population in a tough but fair way."
CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, April 14: "This is going to be a lengthy process. For example, if things go according to plan, people are going to have three to four weeks to read this bill and analyze it before the first mark-up session, the first amendment process begins at the committee level. We're looking forward to see what suggestions our colleagues have to make the product better."
Meet the Press, April 14: "Now look, there are amendments. Okay? Amendments designed to make a bill better. And I think that's important. What we're working on is a starting point. It is not the take-it-or-leave-it offer. It is a starting point of reform. We spent a lot of time crafting it. I think it's a very good piece of legislation, a very good law. But obviously, there are 92 other senators who have ideas of their own. And I think that, from them, we are going to get ways to improve this. . . . And so certainly, I mean I'm looking forward to an open process of debate on this."
Letter to Tea Party Patriots, April 16: "Already, I have fought and continue to tight to secure commitments for greater transparency through committee hearings and mark-up sessions that will allow senators on the Judiciary Committee ample opportunities to review and amend any immigration legislation before it is considered by the full Senate for additional debate and scrutiny."
Press Release from April 22: "The attack reinforces why immigration reform should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed."
Article Rubio wrote for Fox News, April 23: "The bill I helped write is a good starting point, but it is not a take it or leave it proposition. I am open to any ideas others may have on how to do this, and I've been listening to the legitimate concerns people have raised with the expectation that we will be able to improve the bill as this debate continues."
Floor speech, April 25: "This is not an effort to force anything down anyone's throat. This bill that we've worked on is a starting point. It's not a take it or leave it proposition. It never has been."
Mike Gallagher's show, April 30: "I understand how things have been done in the past in Washington, where they come up with a bill in a room and then they basically tell everybody, 'Here's the solution. Take it or leave it.' That's never what I signed up for. On the contrary, the way I think you're supposed to make public policy in this country is you file a bill as a starting point, but you don't pretend you have all the answers to every question, and then you get input from others. Now, what I have suggested to those who have problems with some component of the bill is, you know, maybe you have a very valid point. In fact I've heard some valid objections. Let's try to fix it. Let's try to change it, but to just say let's defeat the whole thing, I don't think that's a productive approach either. I think this is a starting point that obviously we can and should improve."
Cavuto, April 24: "What I am saying is this bill is a starting point for that discussion, and so if somebody out there or my colleagues have an idea about how we can guarantee that the laws are enforced, then let's do it, we are open to that, and hopefully that's what we are going to get from this open and significant process that I hope we will undergo. We think we have a good starting point, we think we can build on it, and we hope that we will."
"I've never said this has to be done quickly, I mean this country's been struggling [with] this for three decades. Let's do it right so we don't have to do it again - and I have always said that. That's why I want this to be a significant process."
Press Release from June 11: "Since the bill was introduced two months ago, the open and transparent process it has undergone has elicited constructive criticisms to improve it."
Originally Published: Wed, Jun 26th 2013 @ 10:37am EDT