IMMIGRATION PROGRESS….When we last heard from the Senate, Harry Reid had scuppered a compromise deal on immigration because Bill Frist had refused to provide assurances that he’d back the compromise by (a) limiting the number of amendments offered on the floor and (b) appointing serious supporters of the bill to the conference committee that will hash out a final markup with the House. Reid had the balls to kill the deal when it became clear the fix was in, and it looks like this has paid off. A new agreement is now in place:
Frist said the Senate will send 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats to negotiate with the House, with seven of the Republicans and five Democrats coming from the Judiciary Committee. The remaining seven Republicans will be chosen by Frist and the remaining seven Democrats by Reid.
….Frist said a “considerable” number of amendments will be considered when the Senate begins debating the bill early next week.
….Reid acknowledged on the Senate floor yesterday morning that he “didn’t get everything that I wanted” in the agreement, but he said Frist did not either. Reaching the agreement is “not easy with the political atmosphere,” Reid said.
This isn’t perfect, and things might eventually blow up in conference anyway. But it’s better than what we had before.