Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) got into a heated argument during a hearing on immigration reform as Schumer berated opponents of a bill for exploiting the Boston Marathon bombing to delay its passage and for mischaracterizing groups backing the legislation.
The exchange began when Schumer took issue with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a leading critic of the bill, characterizing labor, business, and immigrant rights groups supportive of the bill as “special interests,” and launched into a lengthy diatribe against the bill’s detractors.
Schumer said that Americans “will not be satisfied with calls for delays and impediments.”
“I would say to my colleagues — and I understand their views are heartfelt — the chairman has a very open process to review ways to — if you have ways to improve the bill, provide amendments,” Schumer said. “And those who point to the terrible tragedy in Boston as, I would say, an excuse for not doing a bill or delaying it many months or year–“
At this point Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who defended linking the Boston attack to the bill earlier in the hearings, took issue.
“I never said that!” he shouted. “I never said that!”
After committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) restored order by slamming his gavel repeatedly, Schumer walked back his remarks a bit and suggested he was referring only to critics outside the Senate.
“Those remarks were not aimed at anyone on the committee or the three witnesses,” he said. “There were people out there, you read it in the newspapers, who said it. What I am saying is, if there are things that come up as a result of what happened in Boston that require improvement, let’s add that to the bill.”
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