Senator Scott Brown is still battling within the Republican Party to get action on Irish E3 visas, Politico.com has revealed. The Washington based website, which is incredibly influential in American politics, featured Brown’s Irish visa bill on its home page on Friday.
Politico reports that it is opposition from within his own party that could scuttle the bill and lose Brown key Irish American support in his re-election run back in Massachusetts.
The E3 bill would allow 10,500 Irish a year to come to America on non-immigrant two year visas that could be renewed every two years. Australia already has such a scheme.
Brown has enlisted the aid of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and key Texas Senator John Cornyn to try and move Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa who is holding up the bill in the senate.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has a similar bill to Brown’s also ready to go with 53 Democratic senator supporting it. 60 Votes are needed to avoid a filibuster.
Politico stated that Grassley, “The powerful ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is opposing Brown’s efforts to quickly pass a bill that could certainly help him in a state about a quarter of whose population has Irish roots“.
Politico quoted an Irish activist in Boston saying that Brown had made a clear commitment to seek passage of the bill.
“It’s one thing to verbally come out and support it, which is great, but there has to be follow through,” said James Gallagher, head of the United Irish Counties of Massachusetts. “We’ve been led down the primrose path before.”
Politico reports that “Brown has pulled in some heavy hitters to lean on Grassley, soliciting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to push the Iowa Republican to cut a deal. And in an interview, Grassley said he was still talking with Brown, though a deal is far from done.”
Brown stated “I’m working on using every mechanism and every means to address their concerns like I do on every bill,”I don’t do stuff based on campaign issues; I’ve been doing my job since I got here,” he said.
Brown denied claiming he had support for passage of the bill last week in the Boston Herald
“I said the issue is about to pop; I never said the bill was about to pop,” he said. “The fact that we’re talking about it, and it’s in the forefront, that’s about to pop.”
But Beth Levine, Grassley’s spokeswoman,said her boss is concerned that Brown's bill could “hurt high-skilled American jobs.” She stated that the two men had met to attempt to reach a compromise.
Asked by Politico whether passage of the bill would help Brown’s reelection, Senator Cornyn said: “It’s a little more complicated than that. It takes a majority of the Senate to pass a bill.”