The situation was potentially embarrassing for Graham and Flake, who might not want to explain to their constituents that their bill gave federal benefits to newly-legalized immigrants. So it appears that the Gang had met and Democrats had given the two Republicans permission to support Sessions’ amendment. As the clerk was calling the roll for votes (at about 3:05 in the video), Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, the de facto leader of the Gang, was heard turning to an aide and asking, “Do our Republicans have a pass on this one, if they want? Yes.”
They did indeed want. In a somewhat unusual show of Republican unity, Graham and Flake joined other Republicans to vote for the Sessions amendment. It didn’t matter — Democrats have a 10-to-8 majority on the committee and voted unanimously against Sessions’ amendment, meaning it was killed by a 10-to-8 margin. But the moment provided a glimpse of the degree to which Graham and Flake are working with Schumer in maneuvering the Gang of Eight bill through the Judiciary Committee.