Graham Says Health Care Passage Will Kill Immigration Bill

Posted March 19, 2010 at 3:50pm

Days before the House will vote on health care reform, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is threatening that using reconciliation to get the bill through the Senate will doom the chances of accomplishing immigration reform this year.

“The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform,” Graham said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year.”

Graham’s statement comes one day after he and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) unveiled a bipartisan blueprint for immigration reform Thursday, breathing new life into an issue that has otherwise been ignored this year.

Senate Republicans have lambasted Democrats for preparing to use the reconciliation process to consider fixes to the health care bill. The chamber is slated to begin the time-consuming process next week, in the event that the House approves the Senate-passed health care bill this weekend. Passing the measure under reconciliation requires only 51 votes and circumvents the minority’s ability to filibuster the bill.