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Schumer ambivalent on possible gay rights amendment to immigration bill

Sen. Schumer is concerned an amendment from Sen. Leahy could tank the immigration bill. The amendment would grant gay couples equal green card rights.

Sen. Charles Schumer (Credit: Getty) Sen. Charles Schumer (Credit: Getty)

As the Senate Judiciary Committee commences debate on proposed immigration legislation today, its proponents have to grapple with a flood of amendments that could tank its chances of passing.

John McCain (R - NV), one member of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" backing the bill, said he is "guardedly optimistic" but warned against "efforts made to destroy that delicate compromise."

By Tuesday's deadline, 300 amendments had been filed, two-thirds of which came from the Republican Party. The majority came from two Republican senators: 77 from Charles Grassley (R - IA) and 49 from Jeff Sessions (R - AL).

Democrats have also proposed controversial amendments, however: Patrick Leahy (D - VT) is pushing for gay citizens to be able to sponsor the green card applications of foreign partners and spouses.

Senator Charles Schumer (D - NY), another member of the "Gang of Eight" and a long-time gay rights supporter, expressed ambivalence over Leahy's amendment.

"I would very much like to see it in the bill," Schumer told reporters. "But we have to have a bill that has support to get [it] passed. That's the conundrum."

Schumer said the four Republicans in the bipartisan Gang of Eight have expressed an aversion to the amendment that would grant gay couples the same green card rights as heterosexual spouses and fiances.

"Our four Republican colleagues feel very strongly that if this is in the bill they would not be able to support it," Schumer said.

It still remains to be seen whether Leahy will even push for a vote on the amendment during the committee debate, postpone it under the floor debate, or drop it altogether.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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