The bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill was being held up by a dispute over how low-skilled workers would be incorporated into the all-encompassing agreement, but it appears that wrinkle's been smoothed over and the bill could be unveiled in a little more than a week.
Buzzfeed's Hunter Schwarz reports a deal was struck late Friday evening between AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of eight Senators working to construct the deal, mediated the agreement. NBC News' Kristen Welker and Carrie Dann confirm Buzzfeed's report. The two sides couldn't agree on the exact number of Visas to be distributed to low-skilled workers per year, or how that number would be determined. These are the details of the agreement, per Schwarz:
The program would be capped at 200,000 a year, but the number of visas would fluctuate, depending on unemployment rates, job openings, employer demand and data collected by a new federal bureau pushed by the labor movement as an objective monitor of the market.
NBC News has more on why the new deal appeases both sides:
The labor unions are happy because they think the system won't have a net drag on the salaries of American workers, and the Chamber doesn't feel as as though they will be overpaying for entry level jobs.
The dispute over the low-skill worker program was threatening to derail this whole thing, apparently, but thanks to last night's late night deal making the bill is back on track. This was in no way the final hurdle to beat before the Senate's bill will be considered ready, but it was a big one. Schumer still has to clear the agreement with the seven other Senators working on the bill, but they're expected to sign off on it. The Senate bill will include a path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented workers currently in the U.S. and measures for future immigrants arriving on U.S. shores. We'll finally get to see the fruits of Schumer's labor on April 8, when the group of eight Senators are expected to unveil the bill to the public for the first time.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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