Sen. Chuck Schumer took time out on Monday to tout the job of Congress and its members, including how many important votes the chamber has achieved since January: 45, according to Schumer’s count. He also highlighted, in particular, his comment last week that “it’s time to get serious about moving immigration reform.”
With that in mind, the New York Democrat used his weekly “Condition of the Union” address to lay out a timeline that he said could get lawmakers to final agreement on immigration this year. The timeline calls for reaching a deal on immigration in August, a tax deal before September, an appropriations bill before the end of September, and a budget and defense funding bill before January.
The idea of prioritizing that, and other, work before the end of the year is not entirely new — a bipartisan coalition has called for a deadline, and no less than seven different times. But Schumer said that “sensible, bipartisan proposals” have “ultimately fallen flat, with President Trump and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, threatening to keep Congress from moving quickly on just about anything until the midterms.” The idea of following the same approach in 2018 has already been tried, too, and it has proven dicey.
Schumer’s plan is not unique — he presented the same timeline to his fellow New Yorker, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, during a private conversation. But Schumer said the timing of his pitch was specifically tied to the fact that Congress hasn’t yet reached a conclusion on immigration.
“I can’t think of another issue that has already impacted nearly 800,000 families, and it’s slipping from our grasp,” Schumer said. “The Senate can be better than this. I refuse to let our own inaction delay bipartisan immigration reform. It’s my pledge to the American people that I will put aside the partisan games and move immigration reform in a bipartisan fashion. And so it is time for our leaders to put aside the games and get on a path to reform our broken immigration system.”