Ryan Lizza tar oss med på innsiden av den såkalte «åtterbanden», gruppen bestående av fire demokratiske og fire republikanske senatorer som har samarbeidet om et utkast til en ny innvandringsreform.
Dette reformutkastet debatteres nå i Senatet, men hvordan oppstod egentlig gruppen, og hvordan er dynamikken senatorene imellom? Lizza gir oss svarene på dette, i tillegg til å gi oss et lite innblikk i hvordan Senatet, Kongressens øverste kammer, egentlig fungerer.
Washington Posts Sean Sullivan har samlet ti viktige anekdoter fra artikkelen, og jeg har plukket ut fem av disse:
President Barack Obama var i utgangspunktet skeptisk til å la gruppen ta føringen i arbeidet med innvandringsreformen, i følge senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey):
“We appreciate your leadership and we’re going to need your leadership at certain points,” he told Obama. “But right now, if you put out your bill, they”—Republicans—“will feel like they’re being cornered.” Obama was taken aback. “He basically said, ‘After you guys pushed me so hard in not so subtle tones, being critical at times about lacking leadership, now you’re asking me to hold off?’ And so we took the browbeating for a little while and then I went back and said, ‘I understand why you’re upset and how you might feel this way.’ ”
Om forholdet mellom senatorene John McCain (R-Arizona) og Chuck Schumer (D-New York), som «leder» gruppen:
McCain’s Democratic partner in pushing immigration reform this year is Senator Charles Schumer, of New York. Although they generally agree on immigration, it was not an obvious pairing. Schumer, an aggressive pol from Brooklyn who won his first political campaign thirty-eight years ago, told me recently, in his office in Manhattan, “I didn’t get along with McCain. We didn’t know each other very well. We’ve had some fights on the floor. He once made a pejorative comment about Long Island and I blasted it and he got mad at that.”
The relationship thawed as McCain and Schumer found themselves working together as part of the group that kept Reid from changing the filibuster rules. “McCain and I sat next to each other every morning at eight o’clock and went over things,” Schumer said. The meetings took place over “bad D.C. danish.” McCain, Schumer said, “came over to me at the end. He said, ‘You know? You’re a much different person than I thought you were.’” McCain agreed that the meetings built trust between him and Schumer. “The reason why I enjoyed working with Ted Kennedy is because Ted was always good to his word,” he said. “And so is Chuck.”
Om Schumers avgjørelse om å bruke begrepet «ulovlige innvandrere», framfor «udokumenterte arbeidere»:
Schumer studied [Senator Ted] Kennedy’s 2007 negotiations, and he thought he understood one reason that the [immigration] bill failed. “I love Ted Kennedy,” Schumer said. “He was my mentor and idol, but people got the feeling he wasn’t tough on future waves of illegal immigration.” Schumer said that Democrats are too cautious in their rhetoric. “When Ted Kennedy would say ‘undocumented workers,’ basic America—not the liberal side, but Middle America and conservatives—would say, ‘He really doesn’t think they’re illegal.’ I made a decision: I would have to keep saying ‘illegal immigrants.’”
Om senator Dick Durbins (D-Illinois) innsats for å få med senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) i gruppen:
Everyone agreed that Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, would bring extra wattage to the group, but there was some skepticism about his intentions. Durbin said, “They questioned whether or not, with his credentials, he would be part of an effort that would lead to a path to citizenship. They knew he was obviously strong on border security.” McCain was especially resistant. He would now have to compete for leadership on the Republican side with the young upstart. But Durbin, who had discussed immigration policy with Rubio when Rubio was writing his own DREAM Act, shuttled between conversations with the Gang in Senate offices and conversations with Rubio in the gym.
Forholdet mellom McCain og Rubio er ikke akkurat rosenrødt:
McCain was the only one of the Gang to offer qualified support. “I think the work he’s done with conservative radio has been really good. From time to time, his inexperience here shows up. But it’s not a huge deal. Once in a while, you read, ‘Rubio’s gonna do this, or do that!’ Wait a minute, Marco! Let’s all be together.” As for the substance, “Policy- wise, he’s been good, O.K.? But I wouldn’t say any different than the rest of us.”
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