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April 24, 2014

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Senate nearly votes on Heller’s Nevada immigration amendment

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Steve Marcus

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left talks with Sen. Dean Heller following a dedication ceremony for the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Las Vegas Medical Center (VASNHS) in North Las Vegas Monday, August 6, 2012.

Sen. Dean Heller’s amendment to include Nevada on the immigration bill’s Southern Border Security Commission almost got its day on the Senate floor Thursday, when Sen. Harry Reid suggested the Senate vote to approve it.

But Republican leaders objected to the idea. A spokeswoman for Sen. Charles Grassley, who as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee is the leading Republican on immigration, could not offer a reason as to why.

Heller’s office said they are committed “to continue to push for votes” on all of Heller’s amendments, because they are “the right thing for Nevada.”

Heller’s proposal would add one seat to the immigration bill’s 10-member border commission, with the stipulation that it be occupied by either the governor of Nevada or his appointee. Heller argued that because Las Vegas faces many of the same challenges as actual border states, it deserves “a seat at the table.”

Reid has co-sponsored Heller’s initiative.

As things turned out, Heller’s was not the only proposed amendment to be passed over for a vote Thursday. The Senate disbanded for the weekend having cast only one vote on an immigration amendment, voting down a proposal from Grassley to delay provisional legal status for undocumented immigrants until after the border is deemed fully secure.

Reid told senators Thursday that they should expect to work through next weekend in order to move through amendments that have been filed, but have not be voted on because Republicans and Democrats haven’t been able to agree on a procedure to consider them.

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