Senate Prepares For Lengthy Debate On Immigration Policy | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Senate Prepares For Lengthy Debate On Immigration Policy

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The slow moving Senate is about to get even slower. The Judiciary Committee already held five hearings on the immigration bill where members debated more than 200 amendments. Now other senators want to weigh in. Proposed amendments range from gay rights policy to gun control. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. says the debate needs to be open yet limited.

"I would hope our leadership could somewhat structure that," he says. "We saw how many amendments were offered in the Judiciary Committee. We obviously aren't going to be able to take up hundreds of amendments. But I think we can take up a reasonable number that are relevant to the bill. And yes, some will be controversial, we have to make decisions."

But with sequestration still in place and student loan rates set to double in July, Cardin says the Senate shouldn't be consumed solely on immigration.

"We have to deal with other issues while we deal with immigration," he says. "There's a lot of issues that have to come up... we have nominations. I would hope that we won't be on this exclusively, but it will take some time."

Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to have immigration reform wrapped up by the end of the month, but expects plenty of fireworks in the mean time, as senators debate a policy that has remain largely untouched for decades.

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