That there might be multiple bills in the now expected debate is not unusual. What is interesting, however, is the reversal of the situation that prevailed last year when the Senate was relatively at ease with what is undeniably a most difficult issue, while the House was so adamantly opposed to any change on the temporary work visa and earned legalization fronts.
Now it’s the House of Representatives that’s leading the way with a bill that is expected to muster enough votes in the 435-member chamber for successful passage.
What will be of crucial importance here will be the number of Republicans that vote for the “Strive Act of 2007.” A razor thin House majority is not likely to impress lately skittish senators, not least John McCain who has been getting an earful from GOP primary voters in the American heartland.
That Senator Edward Kennedy is formulating a Senate response to the Strive Act is, of course, encouraging.
Senator Arlen Specter has indicated some differences with Kennedy on reform but these two veteran legislators are long familiar with each other. We hope, indeed, expect, that they will be able to work out any such difficulties and craft a Senate bill that will be as close a match as possible to the House offering.
Then it will be up to President Bush. The president has more than once indicated his desire to see change in immigration law. It is to be hoped that in the coming week he will make it clear to Congress that he wants an agreed and workable formula for comprehensive immigration reform of his desk, preferably before Congress breaks for the summer.
As the president might put it himself: “Bring it on!”