Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and a key conservative backer of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, and Grover Norquist, are welcoming news that the legislation may be an economic gain for the country.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report Tuesday stating that the bill would reduce the federal budget deficit by $197 billion in its first decade. However, it will cost $22 billion to implement the 2013 immigration reform bill, meaning that the net savings is $175 billion. The CBO also projected that because of the increased taxpayer pool, another $700 billion will be saved between 2024 and 2033.
The Senate bill would improve border security and provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country. Rubio, who is a part of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” that drafted the legislation, said the CBO report confirms what conservative economists have been saying all along.
“Reforming our immigration system is a net benefit for our economy, American workers and taxpayers,” he said. Still, the lawmaker said there are key areas in the measure that need improving so that those who break the law won’t benefit from federal programs.
“Overall, the CBO report offers encouraging evidence that the status quo is unacceptable and we can end it without burdening our already burdened taxpayers and, in fact, reduce the deficit over the next 20 years,” Rubio added.
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Anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist also is praising the report, saying it is additional evidence that immigration is “key to economic growth.” He also urged Congress to fix the broken system for the sake of the economy.
“Immigration reform will jumpstart America’s economy and reduce our national debt,” Norquist said in a statement. “And because CBO employed the type of dynamic analysis conservatives have long clamored for, we have a full accounting of both the costs and benefits of reform.”
As the Senate moves toward passing its comprehensive bill before the July 4 holiday, the House is yet to produce a similar package. Lawmakers in the House Judiciary Committee, however, voted Tuesday on a measure that authorizes local and state law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws and bump up illegal presence in the U.S. to a federal crime, as opposed to a civil offense.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has warned that a majority support from both parties will be needed before any immigration bill becomes law.
“I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have a majority support of Republicans,” Boehner said. He added that the Senate’s measure is weak on border security and that the triggers within that legislation “are almost laughable.” “If they’re serious about getting an immigration bill finished, I think the president and Senate Democrats ought to reach out to their Republican colleagues to build broad bipartisan support for the bill,” Boehner said.