Politico: Immigration Bill 'Shepherded' Via 'Back Channels and Insider Negotiations'

Politico: Immigration Bill 'Shepherded' Via 'Back Channels and Insider Negotiations'

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is attempting to shepherd votes for his immigration plan by offering political incentives to Republican colleagues, according to Politico. 

Politico described the immigration bill’s process in a Wednesday article about how “Gang of Eight” member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried unsuccessfully to sway the vote of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) with a kickback in the bill.

“The jostling also sheds light on the way bill proponent, and Senate leadership have successfully shepherded the most significant piece of legislation this year: mostly via back channels and insider negotiations, with deals reached privately to lock up senators’ votes — rather than amendments adopted publicly on the Senate floor,” wrote Politico’s Manu Raju.

Graham was overheard on his way to a quick vacation to Pebble Beach golf course in sunny California loudly cursing on the phone about how Portman could not be swayed into supporting the immigration bill, Raju reported.

“Graham and the rest of the Gang of Eight had just made an offer they believed Portman couldn’t refuse: They would agree to quietly slip in the Ohio Republican’s so-called E-Verify plan into a bigger border security package — in exchange for securing Portman’s vote for their immigration bill,” wrote Raju, “But Portman balked, angering Graham, who was overheard loudly cursing about his colleague on a phone call on his way to San Francisco, according to a person who witnessed the remarks.”

Graham confirmed to Politico that he was cursing about being unable to secure Portman’s vote with a deal. “I was pissed about not getting Portman in the package,” Graham said, “But I’ve never been pissed at Portman. I think Rob Portman could be the 69th vote.”