The Congressional Budget Office's report on the Senate immigration reform bill quickly served as a Rorschach test for the opposing sides in the Senate debate. Here are excerpts from two very different reactions to the report Wednesday on the Senate floor. The first is from Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and the second from Jeff Session (R-Ala.).
I come to the floor with even more good news about the Gang of Eight's immigration reform proposal that is being debated before the Senate. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that this legislation we are considering is good for the American economy. We in the Gang of Eight have spent months working on this bipartisan effort because we knew it was good for the United States. Now we have the official word from the Congressional Budget Office confirming that it will reduce our nation's deficit and grow our nation's economy. ... The Congressional Budget Office's analysis shows that our bill will increase the U.S. gross domestic product by 3.3 percent in the first 10 years after its enactment and 5.4 percent in the second 10 years after its enactment. This means the bipartisan immigration reform we are debating in the Senate will actually grow our economy, not harm it as some of the ardent opponents have tried to argue. I have been saying this all along: Bringing 11 million people out of the shadows will increase our economic growth, and now we know by how much.
The Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the immigration bill of the Gang of Eight confirmed in dramatic fashion our most significant concerns about the bill. Indeed, I would say, through the history of the movement of this bill through the Senate, this is the most dramatic event yet. Basically, it says these things in explicit phrases after careful analysis: No. 1, it will reduce the wages of American citizens. No. 2, it will increase unemployment in America. No. 3, it will reduce GNP per capita in America. The growth in our economy will be reduced by the passage of this bill. It concludes that the flow of illegal immigrants will not be stopped, but will only be reduced by 25 percent. So we are talking about a bill that is supposed to be the toughest ever, that is going to promote economic growth in America, a bill that is supposed to make us economically stronger and end illegal immigration in the future. It just doesn't do that.