Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws on a bipartisan vote, sending the most significant immigration policy changes in decades to the full Senate, where the debate is expected to begin next month.The bipartisan vote came after committee chairman Pat Leahy dropped his push for an amendment that would have offered protection for same-sex couples. Sen. Orrin Hatch added his support after forging an agreement to allow companies to hire more non-American workers by raising the minimum number of H-1B visas and lowering their burden to show that they tried to hire an American before looking overseas.
Notably, Hatch's support was limited to the committee vote:
By late afternoon on Tuesday, Mr. Hatch had said that he would support the bill out of committee, if not necessarily on the Senate floor, after the committee agreed, via a voice vote, to pass his amendment.That suggests that he hopes to introduce more changes to the legislation when floor debate begins next month. Still, committee senators sought his support, hoping that the overwhelming bipartisan vote would give the overall bill momentum as it heads to the full senate.
“I’m going to vote this bill out of committee because I’ve committed to do that,” Mr. Hatch said.