Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he will ignite another massive immigration debate — the fourth in the past 12 years — in coming weeks, as he sought to convince Democrats to end a filibuster that has shut the government down.
As the shutdown entered its third day, Mr. McConnell was hoping to give enough assurances on immigration, without committing to passing a specific bill.
Democrats have said they won’t approve government funding until they have guarantees on immigration. They are looking for a bill that would grant citizenship rights to millions of illegal immigrants.
Mr. McConnell said that debate can’t happen while the government is shut down, but promised it soon thereafter.
“Let me be clear. This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset, and an amendment process that is fair to all sides,” Mr. McConnell pledged on the Senate floor as he opened the session.
The Senate tackled immigration in 2006, 2007 and 2013. A bill passed the chamber in that first year, when the GOP controlled; it failed in spectacular fashion in 2007, when Democrats were in control; and it passed in 2013 in broad bipartisan fashion, though Democrats never sent that bill over to the House for action.