Sen. Marco Rubio initially praised a border security proposal from Sen. John Cornyn, helping to make it the leading choice of conservatives demanding tighter enforcement measures.
Now others in the Gang of Eight fear Cornyn’s plan could sink their entire immigration deal.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is beginning to speak out forcefully against the Cornyn language, bombarding the Texas Republican with critical comments from the Senate floor. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is lobbying other Republicans on potential compromises. And Rubio, although he said Wednesday that the Cornyn plan “dramatically improves the bill,” is working on a package that others in the Gang of Eight hope could emerge as an alternative.
The fear of some bill proponents: the longer the Cornyn plan hangs out there, the more likely it will become a magnet for Republicans — and accepting anything short of it will be considered a sacrifice. If that happens, then the Gang of Eight won’t be able to get the large bipartisan majority that its leaders, including McCain and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), are seeking.