Obama Strikes Out with GOP Senators on Immigration – Lindsey Graham Stands Alone
Barack Obama worked the phones to try to get GOP senators to sign on to his radical amnesty bill. Discussions with Senators Scott Brown (R-MA), Lisa Murkowksi (R-AL), Richard Lugar (R-IN), George Lemieux (R-FL) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) fell flat. Only, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is willing to move forward on the unpopular bill.
Sources familiar with discussions about the issue say the White House is reluctant to move on the politically polarizing and divisive issue of immigration without bipartisan support.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seems to be the only GOP senator on board, but he has told Democrats they will lose his support unless they find another Republican.
Obama called Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, to try to get him to sign on, as well as four other GOP senators: Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, Richard Lugar of Indiana, George Lemieux of Florida and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
CNN contacted aides to those senators, and all said none gave the president a commitment to work with Democrats on immigration reform.
Democratic sources say they will probably work to get GOP support for another few weeks and then weigh how to proceed.
One likely scenario, according to the sources, is to craft legislation that has had bipartisan support in the past and try to bring it to the Senate floor in early summer. If they don’t succeed, Democratic sources say, they will at least be able to show key political constituencies like Latinos that they tried.
The last major immigration reform efforts in Congress came in 2005, when Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Ted Kennedy, Brown’s predecessor, introduced a bipartisan bill that aimed to implement guest-worker programs and ways for more illegal immigrants to become citizens.
The McCain-Kennedy bill, however, never came up for a vote in the Senate.