Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks at a listening to. | Susan Walsh/AP
Menendez alluded to previous repeated makes an attempt and failures to move huge reforms.
“We have compromised an excessive amount of and capitulated too rapidly to fringe voices who’ve refused to just accept the humanity and contributions of immigrants to our nation,” he stated.
In drafting a sweeping immigration invoice early in his presidency, Biden is looking for to keep away from what many Democrats seen as a missed alternative by former President Barack Obama to handle the difficulty. As designed the invoice has been praised extensively by progressives and immigrant rights teams. But it is unlikely to realize any Republican assist.
Though co-sponsors characterised the invoice as a historic step by the administration to handle an overtaxed immigration system, few on and off the Hill suppose it will probably move a 50-50 Senate.
“This invoice was not designed to get to 60,” stated an individual near the White House who was briefed on the invoice. “There’s no pathway to 60.”
White House officers wouldn’t say if Biden is contemplating passing components of immigration reform by way of a second finances reconciliation course of later this 12 months or if they’re already speaking to lawmakers about passing smaller gadgets. But they conceded the top consequence might be very completely different.
“He was within the Senate for 36 years and he’s the primary to let you know the legislative course of can look completely different on the opposite finish of the place it begins,” a White House official stated on a name with reporters Wednesday night. “He nonetheless thinks that these are all the weather that ought to be within the bundle, however once more, is prepared to work with Congress to get one thing finished.”
Sources near the White House have stated for weeks that the administration is open to passing focused payments that might be extra prone to garner 60 votes.
“There are many paths each substantively and tactically for a way an immigration invoice can transfer ahead,” stated one supply near the administration. “All choices should be on the desk.”
Biden himself stated as a lot throughout a city corridor with CNN on Tuesday as he fielded questions on immigration. “There’s issues I’d cope with by itself,” he stated. “But not on the expense of claiming I’m by no means going to do the opposite.”
Democrats have been debating for greater than a month what to do when Biden’s sweeping immigration overhaul lands on Capitol Hill. Those talks have solely intensified in latest weeks as extra Democrats coalesced across the concept of passing extra focused laws versus placing legislative muscle behind a complete invoice that has little probability of turning into legislation.
House Democratic leaders have but to make a closing determination however a number of lawmakers and senior aides advised POLITICO they imagine the chamber will first attempt to move a invoice that gives a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants from war-torn nations. A handful of Republicans crossed get together traces and supported the invoice final Congress.
“I salute the president for placing forth the laws that he did,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advised reporters on Thursday. “There are others who wish to do piecemeal and which may be an excellent strategy in the present day. That’s up for the Congress to determine.”
The effort will seemingly occur the week of March 8 — the final time lawmakers can be in Washington to vote earlier than a month of distant committee work and a two-week recess for Easter and Passover. House Democrats are additionally staring down an April 1 deadline to behave — to bypass committee motion, the get together has to convey immigration-related payments that have been handed final 12 months to the ground by then.
The immigration debate is illustrative of the fragile dance Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should navigate over the following two years: balancing calls for for sweeping laws from a liberal base with slim majorities and requires a extra reasonable strategy from emboldened centrists who see themselves as a verify on the left.

Capturing the divide in strategy, the administration’s chief co-sponsor within the Senate, Menendez, is against a piecemeal technique.
“There are some in Congress from each events who argue towards going huge on immigration reform,” Menendez stated on a name with press Thursday. “Some nonetheless imagine the reply lies in blocking all authorized channels of our immigration system till we get our home so as. Others say we must always go away the larger, harder questions for one more day pursuing slim reforms that nibble on the edges and go away tens of millions of individuals behind. Personally, I couldn’t disagree extra with each approaches.”
The White House insisted that its bigger invoice ought to come first to keep away from the notion it’s abandoning a complete strategy, in response to two folks briefed on the laws. The White House has additionally been holding a sequence of convention calls with immigration advocates within the days earlier than the invoice was launched, together with ones with progressive teams Wednesday.