Biden’s immigration overhaul could face resistance in Congress

Washington, January 22

It was a bold opening salvo from the incoming administration of President Joe Biden: an immigration Bill that would open a path to citizenship for roughly 11 million people living in the country illegally. But even the Democratic senator leading the charge acknowledged on Thursday that passing it would be “a Herculean task”. Senator Robert Menendez, a long-time immigrant rights champion, said in a video call with business groups, labour unions and migrant advocates that they would need to convince a broad swath of Americans to support the measure, while allies in the US business community would have to push for it with “everything you’ve got”.

Overcoming ‘filibuster’

  • Control of the Senate is split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote
  • Democrats will need to win over 10 Republicans to avoid a “filibuster”, a procedural hurdle that can delay or block legislation from coming to a vote
  • Democrats control the House of Representatives, but by a narrower margin than in the previous Congress

Biden has made the immigration reform Bill the centrepiece of his efforts to reverse former President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration legacy. It signals his willingness to spend significant political capital on an issue that is a priority for businesses, labour unions, faith groups and activists.

House to send article of impeachment on Monday

Washington: The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives will deliver an impeachment charge against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, rejecting Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s request for a delay. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the move on the Senate floor but did not say when Trump’s second impeachment trial would begin. Reuters

The President, however, faces odds to win over enough Republicans in a closely divided Congress to pass the Bill, congressional aides, experts and advocates say.

Pause on ‘Trump wall’

Biden has ordered halting border wall construction within a week. The announcement leaves billions of dollars of work unfinished, but still under contract.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted on Monday, before Biden was sworn in, that the new President was “wasting no time trying to enact his radical immigration agenda”. — Reuters

Austin wins Senate vote as 1st Black Pentagon chief

Washington: Lloyd J Austin, a West Point graduate who rose to the Army’s elite ranks and marched through racial barriers in a 41-year career, won Senate confirmation on Friday to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defense. AP

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