Frist Calls Immigration Filibuster 'Inappropriate'; Vows to Move Forward

This afternoon at the Senate majority leader’s pen and pad session for reporters held on the Senate floor, Bill Frist called Minority Leader Harry Reid’s threats of filibuster over immigration bill “inappropriate.”

The Judiciary Committee is holding hearings today to discuss a guest-worker bill that Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) is sponsoring. In order for the bill to reach the Senate floor, it needs to break out of the committee, which is divided over the issue.

Frist set a March 27 deadline last January for the Judiciary Committee to offer a bill. On the chance Specter’s bill does not make it out of committee today, Frist offered his own stripped-down bill that resembles the bill that passed the House focusing only on border security.

Reid has publicly said he "will do anything in his power" including filibuster to stop Frist from offering a bill that has not been approved by the Judiciary Committee.

“I told people long in advance and the Judiciary Committee is in their sixth markup,” Frist said when asked by a reporter if he was rushing the legislative process.

He said that he offered his bill “with the understanding that we could build on it to address guest-worker” programs.

Frist stressed the need to secure the border without “undue delays and restrictions” and the need to “try and get above partisanship.”

“We need to get the most consensuses. It’s not the Democrats versus Republicans on this particular issue and it should not break on party lines.”

Frist would not promise to offer the Judiciary Committee’s bill, if they pass one today. “Just because the Judiciary Committee gets a product doesn’t mean I’ll throw things up that will be filibustered,” he said.

Frist didn’t guarantee he had the votes to get cloture, but said, “Nobody is going to stop this. We have terrorists and people we don’t know coming through here every day. Nobody wants to be stopping border security.”