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Feinstein on Republicans Breaking Committee and Senate Rules

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after Chairman Lindsey Graham broke committee and Senate rules to force through his immigration bill:

            “Immigration is really an emotional issue. It touches so many lives, not only of those hoping to come to this country, but also millions of us who were either immigrants ourselves or had family who were. That’s why Democrats are so upset by what occurred today in the Judiciary Committee.

            “The committee has only eight rules, and four of them were violated today so Republicans could force through Chairman Graham’s immigration bill that has no chance of becoming law and would only make the situation at the border worse.

            “Chairman Graham broke four Judiciary Committee rules: 1) a rule that requires a minimum number of members to conduct business, 2) a rule that any member can delay the vote on a bill for one week, 3) a rule that debate continues unless a member of the minority votes to end it, and 4) a rule that allows senators to offer amendments. And by doing this without amending committee rules, he also violated Senate Rule XXVI.

            “Why have rules if they can be broken when they become inconvenient? That’s certainly not the Senate I joined in 1992. This body is grounded in comity, cooperation and respect, but all that was thrown out today.

            “There are good reasons that Democrats are strongly opposed to Chairman Graham’s bill. 

  • “The bill would overturn the Flores Agreement, a court decision that requires the government to release children within 20 days and sets minimum standards of care and housing for children.
  • “The bill would repeal provisions I authored that protect unaccompanied children, including requiring that children are transferred to state-licensed child care shelters within 72 hours. This became a big issue after I saw a young Chinese girl in court – who had traveled to America in a shipping container – who was shackled and unable to understand what was being said.
  • “And the bill would fundamentally undermine our system of asylum, barring all asylum claims for those who don’t enter through a port of entry and arbitrarily banning asylum for anyone from Central America.

            “The actions that occurred today in the Judiciary Committee are damaging not only to the Senate and the ongoing debate over immigration, but also harmful to the country. I hope that as tempers cool and reason returns that we’ll be able to work together to forge a bill that will address the concerns at the border and not further divide the country.”