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Immigration bill clears Senate test


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The legislation was originally drafted by a bipartisan Gang of 8, four senators from each party who negotiated a series of political trade-offs over several months.

The addition of the tougher border security provisions came after CBO informed lawmakers that they could potentially spend tens of billions of dollars to sweeten the bill without fearing higher deficits.

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The result was a series of changes negotiated between the Gang of 8 and Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee. Different, lesser-noticed provisions helped other lawmakers swing behind the measure.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, likened some of them to "earmarks," the now-banned practice of directing federal funds to the pet projects of individual lawmakers.

He cited a provision creating a $1.5 billion jobs fund for low-income youth and pair of changes to benefit the seafood processing industry in Alaska. Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., issued a statement on Friday trumpeting the benefits of the first; Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Mark Begich, a Democrat, took credit for the two others.

Grassley also raised questions about the origin of a detailed list of planes, sensors, cameras and other equipment to be placed along the southern border.

"Who provided the amendment sponsors with this list?" asked Grassley, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee that approved an earlier version of the bill. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano "did not provide the committee with any list. Did Sikorsky, Cessna and Northrup Grumann send up a wish list to certain members of the Senate?"

Randy Belote, a spokesman for Northrup Grumann, said in an email the firm has "not had the opportunity to review the comments nor... provided the committee a ‘wish list’ of its systems to consider."

Officials at the other two companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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