Rand Paul: Immigration bill would be easier to pass in small pieces

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that immigration reform would be more likely to pass the Senate if it were broken up into individual items instead of pushed through as one big compromise.

“Everybody said, ‘Oh, you’ll never get comprehensive reform if you do it one at a time and you take the most popular ones.’ I disagree,” Paul said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Wednesday morning.

“I think everything in Washington is broken because every bill is too big and every deal attempts to be too big. … We make it a lot harder to find a deal if it has a thousand moving parts,” he said. “I think we should go to the things we agree on and just boom, boom, boom, just start.”

“The public’s upset with us, why can’t we get anything done, why can’t we just get along,” Paul continued. “Well, all the stuff we agree on we won’t pass because we say, ‘Oh, that’s gonna be the sweetener for the bigger deal,’ which we never seem to be able to get. So why not break up all these big deals into smaller deals?”

The senator added that he had not yet read the immigration reform bill that was filed late last night in the Senate, but that “in general, I am for immigration reform. I am for finding a place for those who are in our country, whether documented or undocumented, finding a place for them if they want to work.”

But, he said, he had serious concerns about border security and wanted to be sure that those concerns would be addressed in any plan. He said he would likely offer three or four amendments.

He also said that his support would likely be an important thing for the senators sponsoring the bill to get because he was from the more conservative wing of the party, and that wing of the party controlled the House.

“I think it’s important for everybody who wants immigration reform to realize it has to go through the House. The House is very conservative … so in order to get it, I think they need to at least engage with people like me who want immigration reform but are from the conservative wing of the party,” he said.

“There’s a big block of conservatives, that I think I’m part of, that will vote for immigration reform if they’re assured and reassured that the border will be secured,” Paul said, adding that he did not think immigration reform should be passed in the House by a majority that was mostly Democratic while a minority of Republicans voted for it. Speaker of the House John Boehner has brought several bills to the floor in this Congress that were passed by mostly Democrats.

“I’m looking for a way to come over and make more of the Republican Party come over and embrace immigration reform,” Paul said.

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