- Iowa Rep. Steve King says "Gang of Eight" bill is a Democratic electoral plot
- King: Democrats are trying to build "another monolithic voting bloc"
- Senate Judiciary Committee holds second day of voting on amendments to bill
A prominent House conservative said Tuesday that the immigration reform bill under consideration in the Senate is part of an ongoing plot to build a massive new Democratic voting bloc.
America's growing Hispanic vote is "a huge boon for Democrats. They have known that for a long time," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. Their message has been that "we are going to recruit all you folks. That we are going to give amnesty to (you) to become Democrats."
Democratic leaders "are in the process of seeking to establish another monolithic voting bloc," he said. Republicans backing the bipartisan Senate bill "completely ignore that fact."
King made his remarks at a Capitol Hill press conference with several other House conservatives taking aim at the "Gang of Eight" legislation drafted by four Senate Democrats and four Senate Republicans.
The bill is winding its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Two committee Republicans from the "Gang of Eight," Arizona's Jeff Flake and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, have been working with the panel's Democratic majority to prevent any major changes to the bill.
Another House conservative at the press conference with King, Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming, noted the length of the proposal by the "Gang of Eight," 844 pages
"When in recent years have we passed such a large bill and had a good outcome?" Fleming asked. "I'll give you Obamacare and Dodd-Frank (financial reform) as good examples of that. I really think we need to tear this thing up and start from the beginning."
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said the "Gang of Eight" would be defeated by a "gang of millions."
"They will rise up against (the Senate bill) and it will fail because the people are stronger than the 'Gang of Eight,'" Stockman said.
A bipartisan group of House members has also been working on comprehensive reform legislation. So far, however, they have not presented any broad-based agreement.
Backers of the "Gang of Eight" legislation are hoping to ultimately win as many as 70 votes in the 100-member Senate to give the legislation serious momentum heading into the more conservative House.
The "Gang of Eight" blueprint would create a 13-year path to citizenship for the bulk of America's 11 million undocumented immigrants while bringing significant change to labor policy on the country's farms.
The bill commits additional resources to security along the Mexican border and creates a new system of metrics to measure border control effectiveness. Critics, however, say the plan is full of holes and translates to amnesty for those who broke the country's immigration laws.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee met Tuesday for a second day of debate and votes on proposed amendments to the plan. Among other things, the panel rejected proposals to tighten future immigration caps and force the creation of a biometric visa identification system before granting permanent legal status to undocumented residents.
The two amendments were offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, who has emerged as the Senate's leading opponent to the "Gang of Eight."