The Republican members of the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” have passed the deadline for Senate Judiciary Committee ranking GOP member Sen. Chuck Grassley’s request for a briefing on their coming immigration reform bill.
Last week, Grassley (R-IA) and his conservative committee colleagues Sens. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote to “Gang of Eight” senators Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), asking them to champion a transparent immigration reform process complete with thorough hearings examining each facet of any legislation those “Gang” Republicans and their Democratic counterparts develop.
“Because the president has failed to lead on this matter, your group has secretly met for months and not consulted with members of this Committee about major changes to our nation’s immigration laws,” Grassley and his colleagues wrote. “The time for transparency has come. Given the Majority’s rushed timetable, we believe it is time for you to discuss the status of your negotiations, disclose what concessions have been made, and provide details to members of the Judiciary Committee as well as the entire Republican Caucus.”
In the letter that Grassley organized, he and his fellow Judiciary Committee conservatives asked for a briefing from the Gang GOP by the close of business on Monday April 8. “[W]e ask that your staff be made available to Republican Committee staff no later than the close of business on Monday, April 8,” Grassley and the Senate Judiciary conservatives wrote. “We also request that you personally discuss your group’s proposal with the entire caucus early next week so that all members can raise concerns and questions before the deal is finalized.”
Despite this request from Grassley and his colleagues, an aide for one of the offices who signed the letter confirmed for Breitbart News that the Gang of Eight Republicans ignored the deadline.
“The request for a staff briefing by today was declined,” the aide said.
Rubio had responded to Grassley’s and his colleagues’ original letter by saying he agreed with their concerns about process. In his response, Rubio did not mention Grassley’s request for a briefing of Senate Judiciary Committee GOP staff by the close of business on Monday.
“I believe strongly that all other 92 senators should be given ample time not just to review the legislation, but to offer ways to improve it,” Rubio said instead. “Earlier this week, I requested and received permission to brief the entire Republican conference during our policy lunch next week. I look forward to briefing you at that meeting.
“In addition, I have asked my staff to brief the staff of every Republican member of your committee once the details of our starting point proposal are finalized. Rest assured I continue to welcome, value and encourage any input you may have. In the meantime, if you or your staff has any specific ideas on immigration reform, please contact us as soon as possible.”
Grassley is known for being a tough oversight official and led, with House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious that spanned most of last Congress and is ongoing.
Spokespersons for each of the Gang of Eight Republican members either did not return Breitbart News’ request for comment on their bosses’ decision or would not comment on the record.