Leahy to Rubio: Ready for ‘You and Your Fellow Gang Members’

Photograph by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio with reporters on Capitol Hill on March 22, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Behind closed doors.

That’s where much of what gets done — when things actually get done — gets done in Washington.

So it appears that the funny bone of the Senate judiciary chairman was tickled by Sen. Marco Rubio’s letter about the immigration bill.

Florida’s Republican Rubio warned Democratic Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont late last week in an open letter that “a rush to legislate, without fully considering all views and input from all senators, could be fatal to the effort of earning the public’s confidence.”

Chairman to secretary: Take a letter to Rubio.

“Yours is the second open letter in March that I have received from a Republican Senator, each suggesting, in one way or another, that we slow the process for consideration of comprehensive immigration reform,” Leahy wrote to Rubio today in another open letter.

Rubio’s bipartisan “gang” of eight senators has been negotiating the terms of a bill they hope to unveil next week. The latest element of it, an agreement between labor and business leaders over visas for low-skilled workers, was sealed in a private conference call Friday night with another member of the gang, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. That promoted a statement from Rubio Sunday morning as the talk shows were getting underway:

Any talk of a final agreement is “premature,” he said, adding: “In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.”

“I hope that the American people will soon be able to review the legislation you and your seven fellow gang members have reportedly been working on for months,” Leahy wrote to Rubio today. “I am hopeful you recognize, as I do, that if we do not act quickly and decisively we will lose the opportunity we now have to fix our immigration system. Those who have been committed to this effort for decades are counting on us and expect the Senate to act thoughtfully and without further delay. I have little doubt we are capable of doing both and that our committee process will be, as is my practice, a full and open public debate of the legislation.”

(Note the reference to decades, in the note to the senator of two years.)

When everyone gets back to town next week — when the gang’s proposal is to be unveiled — Leahy is inviting everyone in for a talk.

We’re sure that will be open.

(With thanks to Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly for pointing out the chairman’s letter:)


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