Senate vote to begin debate on comprehensive immigration reform bill

Alexis Levinson | Political Reporter

The Senate will officially beginning debate on the immigration reform bill Wednesday, after a majority of the body voted in favor two procedural votes that will allow the body to proceed to officially debating and amending the bill.

With an 82 to 15 vote Tuesday afternoon, the Senate voted to end debate on a motion to proceed to an immigration reform bill.

Shortly thereafter, the Senate voted 84 to 15 in favor of a motion to proceed.

The comprehensive immigration reform bill was crafted by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” — Sens. John McCain, Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio, Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake, Michael Bennet, Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez.

All 15 nay votes, in both instances, were Republicans. Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran first voted in favor of ending debate on the motion to proceed, but then voted against the motion to proceed. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley voted against ending debate, but in favor of the motion to proceed. McCain did not cast a vote in either instance. Neither Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn nor Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski cast a vote on whether to end debate; both voted in favor of the motion to proceed.

Disagreement remains over the bill’s handling of border security, with a number of Republicans lobbying for increased border security measures.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he hopes to pass the bill before the July 4th recess.

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