U.S.Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer voted for a procedural motion Tuesday to allow for debate to begin on a new immigration policy.
Johanns expressed his desire to begin debate on the bill that was put together by a few senators. He said, "Thecurrent bill was written by eight senators, which means the other 92 senatorsshould have an opportunity to offer their ideas."
"We need an open and honestdebate about how best to improve our immigration policy," continued Johanns, "and this debate shouldinclude opportunities to propose and vote on amendments from both sides of theaisle.
Both Johanns and Fischer stressed after the vote that they did not vote in favor of the bill, but only voted to bring it to debate.
Fischer said, "Let mebe absolutely clear: today's procedural vote in no way endorses the planoffered by the Gang of Eight. I intend to work with my colleagues to pass anumber of needed conservative amendments, which would be necessary to secure mysupport for the legislation, including:
- Define measurable standards and provide necessary resources to secure the border;
- Remove the so-called ‘pathway to citizenship' so those who broke our Nation's laws are not rewarded with the privilege of citizenship;
- Defend American workers and provide necessary labor for growing economic sectors; and
- Protect hardworking taxpayers from paying for new government programs and benefits for illegal immigrants."
Similarly, Johanns would like to see included in the immigration bill:
- Significantlyand measurably improve border security,
- Prioritizeimmigrants seeking to legally gain American citizenship over those who brokethe law,
- Enforceworkplace eligibility requirements,
- Prohibittax refunds for illegal immigrants in excess of taxes paid, and
- Discloseto taxpayers the full cost of immigration reform
Theprocedural motion to begin debate passed with a 82-15 vote.