After several signs that Pat Toomey could be one of the much ballyhooed list of 70 Senators to support the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill, the Senator now says he is likely to vote against the legislation.
“Absent substantive changes—which do not appear possible in the Senate at this point—I am unlikely to support the underlying bill,” Toomey said.
Yesterday the Senate voted to invoke cloture, that is to end debate, on the Hoeven-Corker Amendment. The amendment is expected to be adopted by the Senate this week.
Proposed by Republicans John Hoeven (R-ND) and Bob Corker (R-TN), the amendment was crafted in order to appeal to GOP Senators and conservative Democrats with concerns about the current bill having insufficient provisions for border security. Among other things, the amendment would add $30 billion to securing the border and double the number of border control agents.
Senator Toomey, however, voted against ending debate on the amendment yesterday. This marked the first time Toomey had signaled opposition to the bill as he had voted to proceed with debate twice last week.
“I voted against the Hoeven-Corker amendment to the immigration bill because it does not solve the fundamental problem of our current immigration policy and the underlying bill, namely, inadequate legal immigration and guest worker provisions for low-skilled workers,” he said. “Absent a solution to this problem, with or without the Hoeven-Corker amendment, the underlying bill invites the next wave of illegal immigration to America.”
Among Toomey’s issues with the legislation is that his proposed amendment to lift the cap on W visas will be one of several amendments not voted on.
Pennsylvania’s senior Senator Bob Casey supported the Hoeven-Corker amendment, as he does immigration reform on the whole.
“Senator Casey voted to advance the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment because he believes that border security is a critical part of comprehensive immigration reform,” said spokesperson April Mellody. “He knows that the current immigration system is broken and he continues to support comprehensive reform to address this once and for all.”