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Senate Rejects Long-Term Extension Of E-Verify, Once Again Refuses To Protect American Jobs

Moments ago, by a vote of 50 to 47, the United States Senate used a procedural maneuver to kill an amendment offered by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that would have protected American jobs by extending the critical E-Verify program through September 2014.

E-Verify is a voluntary program that allows employers to quickly ascertain whether a new employee is legally authorized to work in the United States. At a time of great economic uncertainty and job losses, E-Verify would help ensure that available jobs go to legal American workers instead of illegal aliens.

For the past week and a half, the Senate has been debating a $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 1105) to fund the federal government until September 30, 2009. The bill currently contains a short-term, six-month extension of E-Verify which is just an effort to hold E-Verify hostage so that members of Congress can pair a long-term extension of E-Verify with mass amnesty legislation. Democratic Leadership has repeatedly blocked efforts to pass a long-term extension of the E-Verify program over the past year.

    * In 2008, efforts to pass an extension of E-Verify in the Senate were blocked by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) after the House passed a five-year extension with a vote of 407 to 2. (See FAIR News Release, July 29, 2008).

    * During debate on the economic stimulus bill last month, Senator Reid blocked Senator Sessions from offering an amendment that would have: (1) reauthorized E-Verify for five years, and (2) required employers who receive stimulus money to use E-Verify to ensure they hire only legal U.S. workers. Similar provisions were included in the bill passed by the House.

    * When the conference committee was convened to work out the differences in the House and Senate passed stimulus bills, Senator Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi conspired to drop the E-Verify language from the bill. President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law even though 300,000 jobs created by the bill, and paid for by American taxpayers, would go to illegal aliens instead of legal American workers. (USA Today).

    * Last Thursday morning, March 5, 2009, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) used procedural maneuvers in an attempt to block Senator Sessions’ amendment. Senator Reid even objected to allowing debate on the amendment. (See FAIR Action Alert, March 5, 2009). By Thursday night, it became apparent that this procedural move had backfired, and Senator Reid relented by finally agreeing to allow a vote on the Sessions’ amendment.  

Please take a few minutes to see how your Senator voted on the Sessions’ Amendment #604. The results of the vote can be found on the Senate web site. Keep in mind that the vote was a procedural “motion to table” or kill the Sessions’ amendment. Accordingly, a “Yea” vote is a vote against the Sessions’ amendment while a “Nay” vote is a vote in support of the amendment.


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