Last week the Senate
Judiciary Committee passed S. 744, the Border
Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, or what is generally
called Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).
While this was a significant step, we are still a long
way from actually having CIR as law.
S.744 does many
things. This post will not talk discuss
the specifics of the law but will focus on the next procedural steps that must
happen if CIR is to become law.
From here, the bill moves
to the full Senate. The conventional
wisdom is that in June the full Senate will pass the bill. After the
Senate acts is where it gets interesting.
What the House will do is
a wide-open question. Some think that
if the Senate passes the bill with a healthy majority, then the House will fall
in line. While the House
will have its own bill, it may look a lot like S.744, if S.744 passes the
full Senate with wide support. For example,
a 70/30 pass rate means that a lot of Republicans and Democrats have voted for
it, which means strong bipartisan support.
If this happens we would
expect to see House action before their recess in early August. Pres. Obama will certainly sign the bill;
there is zero chance that he will veto it. So the next key date is mid/late June to see
what the full Senate will do.
On the other hand if the
Senate cannot get to the "magic 70 number" then the House may craft a dramatically
different bill, and predictions become muddy. If the House starts from scratch with its own
bill this could drag on for a while.
At this point the odds are
50/50 that we get CIR in 2013, and the odds improved significantly with the Senate
Judiciary Committee's actions.