(This post has been updated.)
Objection from any one senator can thwart the vote.
Georgia’s Republican Sen. David Perdue, who had blocked the Senate bill S. 386, which would eliminate the country-specific green quota, reversed his decision on the legislation, but a vote did not take place on Thursday because of continued opposition from Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.
The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, was trying to bring it to the floor through “unanimous consent.” A senator can bring a bill on the floor through “unanimous consent” and expedite proceedings, if no senator objects. If any senator objects, a vote will not take place, which is what happened in the case of S. 386.
The bill’s supporters were hoping for a quick vote when Perdue dropped his objection.
The senator’s change of mind was first reported by Bryan Lowry, Washington correspondent for the Kansas City Star. Lowry quoted the senator in a tweet on Wednesday: “I supported his bill. It’s consistent with what the White House has been working on. We just had some nuances in the language with regard to rural nurses and basically we worked that out.”
The US House of Representatives had passed the companion HR 1044 in July.
If S. 386 becomes law, it will remove a per-country quota on employment-based green cards, which will benefit Indian nationals currently working in the United States on H-1B visas.
S. 386, or “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019,” was introduced in the Senate by Lee on February 07. It was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on July 09.
The bill has 34 co-sponsors, including Sen. Kamala Harris, a presidential hopeful.
On September 19, when Lee tried to bring the bill to the Senate floor, Perdue had blocked it. The Georgia senator said at the time that he supported the bill, but needed to address the concerns of certain industries.
(Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified Sen. Dick Durbin’s state affiliation.)
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