Gang of Eight

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The Gang of Eight in the context of Congress has two meanings. Most recently, the Gang of Eight has been used in reference to immigration reform and includes eight of the most influential Senators, with four from each party.[1][2]

Historically it has referred to eight members of Congress: four members, the chair and ranking member, of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate Select Committees on Intelligence and the four leaders of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.[3][4]

The Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980 mandated that the CIA “fully and currently [inform]” Congressional oversight committees of their activities including “any significant anticipated intelligence activity.”[3]

In special cases, the Act authorized the President to brief only the majority and minority leaders of each chamber as well as the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Intelligence Committees. It is this group that is informally known as the "Gang of Eight" of Congress.[3]


Members

U.S. Senate

Within the U.S. Senate, there is a "Gang of Eight" pertaining to immigration reform made up of eight of the most influential senators, with four from each party, including:

113th Congress

Issues

Immigration reform bill

Members of the Senate in early May 2013 started targeting as many as two dozen Republicans for a show-of-force majority, which they believe may be the only way an immigation reform bill will have the momentum to force the U.S. House to act.[3] Proponents of immigration reform are looking for votes beyond the usual moderate senators to ones in conservative strongholds such as Utah, Georgia and Wyoming, and targets because they are retiring, representing agricultural states, anxious to get the issue behind the party, important to persuading skittish U.S. House Republicans, or all of the above.[3][1]

On May 6, 2013 Senators John McCain (R), Chuck Schumer (D), Richard Durbin (D), Robert Menendez (D), Michael Bennet (D), Lindsey Graham (R), Marco Rubio (R), and Jeff Flake (R) unveiled the outlines of their bi-partisan immigration plan.[1][2] The statement of principles was rather broad, but sets forth “four basic pillars”:

  • 1. A “tough but fair path to citizenship . . . .contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country as required”;
  • 2. Reform our legal immigration system with a greater eye toward our economic needs;
  • 3. Workplace verification; and
  • 4. Setting up a system for admitting future workers (although the term “guest worker” is not used).[2]

In essence, the eight senators refused to accept the idea that the United States will deport any substantial numbers of illegal immigrants already in the country.[2]

On June 4, 2013 Marco Rubio, who helped to craft the immigration reform bill, announced that based upon the current status of the bill, he would not support it.[5] Rubio made it clear that the bill must be amended to included specific enforcement procedures that will prevent another influx of illegal immigrants, and without that he will not support the bill because it would not pass in the House.[5]

The House of Representatives passed an amendment defunding President Obama's executive order exempting young illegal immigrants from deportation on June 6, 2013. This was the first immigration-related vote in the House this year. It comes as a test before the Gang of Eight's immigration bill makes it to the House.[6]

Notable support for the immigration reform bill

In addition to numerous Democratic senators, notable Republicans and Republican groups have announced their support for the bill.
They include[7]:

See also

External links

References