Oklahoma Republican senator Tom Coburn is discussing ways to improve the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill with Senator Marco Rubio, National Review Online has learned.
Coburn initially approached Rubio, telling him that the bill was likely to fail if its security provisions weren’t improved. The two subsequently met face-to-face on the issue, and Rubio has been receptive to Coburn’s concerns.
Coburn “is not in the talks, per se, and he has no intention of joining the Gang. But he has shared his concerns about the border security language with Senator Rubio,” a Coburn aide says.
The Oklahoma Republican has been open about his view that the current legislation can’t pass the Senate, saying in a recent hearing, “If in fact the American people can’t trust that the border’s controlled, you’re not going to be able to pass this bill.”
Rubio is eyeing an amendment to include a specific border-enforcement plan in the legislation rather than, as the bill has it now, relying on the Department of Homeland Security to come up with one. He has discussed amendment ideas with numerous Republican offices as he and fellow Gang members work to bolster GOP support. So far, outside of the Gang of Eight, no Republican has announced his intention to vote for the bill.