As of today, 5/21/13 after three days of markups, Alan Gomez reports that Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT), ranking chair of the committee, has accepted 67 of the 300+ amendments offered to the Gang of 8 immigration bill. The hearings have steadily worked through the amendments even as Sen. Sessions (R-AL) is apparently not on board with any of it. Alan Gomez (@alangomez) of USA Today and Phil Wolgin (@pwolgin) have been live tweeting the hearings if you want to follow along.
Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas have speculated that the ongoing IRS, Benghazi, and AP/DOJ scandals may actually help immigration pass. The reason is most recent polling is showing that Americans see Obama as concentrating on important issues while Republicans are not. Klein and Soltas write:
The recent spate of polls has outlined a clear danger for the Republican Party: The American people will come to believe they’re more interested in posturing over trumped-up scandals than in actually working on the tough issues facing the country.
Republican leaders now have even more incentive to see that that [the immigration reform] process continues, as it’s their best evidence that they are remaining focused on solving tough problems in a bipartisan way even as they try to investigate the White House. If immigration falls apart, however, all Republicans will really be doing is investigating scandals. That’s a dangerous place for them to be.
Klein and Soltas' proposition is intriguing, but it's not quite accurate. First, Obama's fingerprints are not on the immigration legislation; it's been driven almost exclusively by the Senate Gang of 8. In fact, the most prominent public face of this immigration bill has been Marco Rubio (R-FL) for the GOP, and he personally, if not his party also, would get credit for the bill if it passes. Second, although the immigration bill has been slowly grinding forward, most Americans haven't been paying attention and have the economy on their minds as the most crucial issue governement should be trying to solve.
The real wild card on immigration that Klein and Soltas don't talk about is the House of Representatives, a decidedly far more right leaning body than the Senate. All this to say it's not clear what, if any effect the scandals that the Obama Administration is dealing with will have any effect on immigration reform.