If the GOP lawmakers hoped to receive a quiet, well-reasoned response from Leahy, they were certainly disappointed. In a letter to Sessions laced with pique, personal invective and an unmistakable air of fuggedaboudit, Leahy told committee Republicans what they can do with their concerns.
First, he complained that Sessions had not spoken to him directly. Then he accused Sessions of grandstanding for the press. And then he complained about the way Republicans treated Democrats when the GOP held the Senate majority before 2007. And that was just in the first paragraph.
More substantially, Leahy suggested the Judiciary Committee has already done enough talking about immigration reform. There were lots of hearings on the subject back in 2006, he said, and a few in the past couple of months. Although there is no bill to evaluate yet — “I regret that we do not have a legislative proposal before us,” Leahy said — the chairman strongly suggested he sees little need for further discussion.
So when the Gang of Eight bill is finished, Leahy declared, it will be considered “with all deliberate speed.” After it is introduced in committee, Republicans will be allowed to delay consideration by one week (a standard prerogative of the minority party). After that, there will be no more hearings, no extended discussion of the bill’s provisions. Voting on amendments and then a final committee vote will soon follow.