Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) announced on Sunday that she will be supporting the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill (S. 744). Her endorsement of the bill brings the number of verbal Republican supporters to six and strengthens the chances of attaining the 60-vote goal, which would void a Republican filibuster.
Ayotte said her decision came after she “looked at [the bill] very carefully.”
“Our immigration system is completely broken,” she said on CBS’s "Face the Nation." “We have 11 million people living in the country illegally in the shadows; we have legal immigration system that isn’t meeting our needs to grow our economy.”
“This is a thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem, so that is why I am going to support it.”
She praised many of the bill’s measures, such as the E-Verify system, the proposed border security provisions, and the plan to legalize the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., which she said will “bring [illegals] out of the shadows” in a “tough, but fair” way.
“[Illegal immigrants] will go to the back of the line, pay taxes, pass a criminal background check, and learn English,” Ayotte said.
Certainly her support is a much-needed addition to break the filibuster. But there will have to be more than six Republicans onboard, unless all 54 Democrats vote yes.
Also new on Sunday is Sen. Marco Rubio’s renewed faith in the bill, as reported by Univision on Al Punto with Jorge Ramos, where Rubio said, “[the 60 votes] aren’t here today, but I think they will be.” He emphasized that a key part of winning over conservative Republicans and Democrats is ensuring that border security is strong, and he suggested that Congress, not administration officials, write the requirements for border security measures.
Despite the challenges, Rubio said the Senate will “have much more than 60 votes, but we will have to work.”
Today the Senate will convene at 2 pm to resume with the motion to proceed to S. 744.