Rubio’s request for amnesty hearings dismissed by Graham and McCain

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Update, 4:20 p.m.: McCain spokesman Brian Rogers told The Daily Caller that “obviously [McCain] supports holding multiple public hearings.”

“He’s rejected the notion that this legislation is somehow being rammed through without debate — it’s just not true,” Rogers added.

Read Rogers’ full comments here, and find the original story below.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s two leading GOP colleagues in the “Gang of Eight” senators working on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws have spurned his calls for multiple hearings and a lengthy public debate over their emerging amnesty and guest-worker bill.

“The process is that we’re going to have a hearing — we had one in 2006 when we did this on [George W.] Bush’s watch,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told radio host Sean Hannity April 9.

Graham also suggested that the Senate Judiciary Committee could wrap up its review of the massive bill in days, rather than weeks.

Sen. John McCain, Graham’s junior partner, also told reporters April 9 that only one hearing was needed.

His peers’ apparent rejection of multiple hearings on the legislation — and the emerging evidence that Democrats may try to minimize debate over the bill by rushing it through the Senate — may prove to be a political problem for Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio, a possible candidate for president in 2016, is trying to win passage of the amnesty and guest-worker bill without angering GOP voters in Florida and other states.

Recent polls show the bill, which is being strongly pushed by President Barack Obama and many progressive groups, could be very unpopular with reliable GOP voters and GOP-leaning voters.

Rubio’s apparent failure to win hearings will spur his critics to call for his withdrawal from the Gang of Eight.

In January, Rubio told radio host Rush Limbaugh that “there’s gonna be public hearings” once the group published the secretly written bill.

“I don’t want to be part of a process that comes up with some bill in secret and brings it to the floor and gives people a take it or leave it,” he insisted to Limbaugh, who has declared much skepticism about the immigration rewrite.

On April 5, Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, told The Daily Caller that “we’re asking for several hearings in multiple committees.”

Several of the Rubio’s GOP peers have also pushed for hearings so the public can assess the likely impact of the bill. Those colleagues include Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The number and scope of hearings are determined by committee chairmen. In the Senate, that means Democrat Sen. Pat Leahy, the chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee, has the power to set hearings on the immigration bill.

Leahy works closely with the Senate’s Democratic leadership, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, the leading Senator on the eight-man group that has drafted the immigration bill.

So far, Leahy has indicated that he will hold a single hearing to review the bill, which is expected to have 1,500 pages of dense legal language that rewrite the nation’s immigration laws.

Graham told Hannity that opponents would have their chance to change the massive bill, but suggested opponents may only have a few days to register their objections.

After the hearing, he told Hannity, “we’re going to have a committee markup in Judiciary where we’re going to have the bill for days, if not weeks, so people who dislike can vote against it.”

“Then it will come to the floor of the United States Senate for I think a very robust debate,” he said.

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