Everyone Agrees on the Senate Immigration Bill, Except Rubio

On the Sunday morning shows, Senators Chuck Schumer, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham happily announced that since business and labor have reached a deal on a guest worker program, they should be ready to unveil the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill when Congress returns from recess next week. Marco Rubio couldn’t join his colleagues from the Gang of Eight, but he did get up extra early on Easter morning to release a statement undermining their declarations. “Reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature,” said Rubio, adding that the legislation “will need a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments.”

On Meet the Press, Schumer downplayed Rubio’s statement, saying he was just “correctly pointing out that language hasn’t been fully drafted.” He added that Rubio has “been an active and strong participant — he’s had a lot of input into the bill.” Rubio is seen as key to getting conservatives to go along with the plan, and an aide said his remarks weren’t intended to suggest that a deal isn’t likely — unless the immigration reform effort devolves into a nasty partisan brawl in the next few weeks. In that case, Rubio had misgivings about the bill before it was even finished.

Rubio Balks on Immigration Bill