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How to Reach a Bipartisan Compromise

Republican members of the gang of eight seem surprised that the immigration bill that they helped to write garnered support from only one third of the Senate Republican Conference. They shouldn’t be.  It is DOA in the House of Representatives, as well. This was all too predictable. When you short cut the process, you have a hard time pulling people together.

On issues that are as emotional and difficult as immigration, you can only find compromise through the regular order of committee hearings, mark-up, floor consideration with an open amendment process and a time to let the process work to rub off the sharp edges of premature legislation.

Legislation developed by a small group that is sheparded through the process by agreements to limit any amendments can never shave off the rough edges and find a true bipartisan solution.

There is a simple alternative. Instead of closing the doors to create a product, let all senators participate in the process through committee hearings, mark-up and floor consideration. Take the time for any and all amendments to be debated and voted on by all members of the US Senate. Let the process produce the result. In the case of immigration legislation, if there were two, or more, approaches that had been allowed to work through a process of debate and open amendment on the Senate floor, there would have been a  chance for a more inclusive agreement.

Even if the result was a partisan bill, the people of the United States would have the benefit of a public debate and the rights of all senators and their constituents would have been protected.

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