To a small band of Republican senators, the problems with the Senate’s immigration reform bill could fill an encyclopedia.
To them, the bill is too long, it hasn’t been read, it’s been negotiated in secret, it’s filled with loopholes, it doesn’t do what Gang of Eight talking points promised and Republicans haven’t been given the chance to substantively alter it. They’ve compared it to Obamacare, warning that a “cornhusker kickback” is buried somewhere deep inside the border security language.
Senate enemies of immigration reform are rapidly dwindling after Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee struck a border security deal last week that may well push the overall bill over the finish line in the upper chamber. But they are still making a lot of noise, as well as coordinating with outside groups opposing the proposed reform to warn the American people that they are getting a bad deal.
A stubborn anti-reform “Gang of Five” has been the loudest opponents: Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, David Vitter of Louisiana, Ted Cruz of Texas and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. These loud-and-proud foes are bucking much of the mainstream GOP establishment — including Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly — which is now rushing en masse to embrace the bill.