“I am very, very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet the Press. “Senator Leahy has agreed to have extensive markup and debate on the bill in April. And then we go to the floor in – God willing, in May.”

Legislation next week. Committee approval by the end of this month. Full Senate passage by May. That is the Democratic plan to grant citizenship to the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country today. It is unclear if Senate Republicans will even try to stop it.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., released a letter Saturday calling for “a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments.” But it is unclear how Schumer’s timeline above isn’t compatible with Rubio’s letter.

We do know that labor unions are very happy with a tentative deal on a guest worker program that would grant special selected industries the right hire new immigrants and grant them their own new paths to citizenship. Starting in 2015, only 20,000 such “W visas” would be allowed. It is still unclear how the government would choose which businesses got this special access to cheap labor,  but eventually as many as 200,000 “W visas” could be granted every year. The exact number and industry allocation of the new visas will be set by a new government agency of experts called the “Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research.”

Business groups and their Republican underlings have not been as eager as their union and Democratic counterparts to admit such a deal has been reached on a new guest worker program, but they have not shot down any of the details either.

Will the legislation require any border security metrics be met before illegal immigrants get their path to citizenship? Will immigrants on the path have access to Obamacare? If so, how much will that cost?

Hopefully these, and many more questions, will be answered this month.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: America needs racial healing
Tim Carney: To protect restaurants, D.C. may curb food trucks
Michael Barone: Why freight rail pays and passenger trains flunk
Byron York: Rubio warns against ‘rush to legislate’ on immigration reform
Philip Klien: 2016 GOP presidential field is wide open
Conn Carroll: How to fight the left-wing hate machine
Hugh Hewitt: The crux of the marriage cases

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Signs of Factory Revival Hard to Spot: It’s true that industrial production has grown twice as fast as the economy as a whole in this recovery, and manufacturers are adding jobs again. But economists see those gains as too small relative to what was lost in previous years to suggest a full-blown revival. Factories fell so hard, the logic goes, some gains are a given.
The New York Times, Pay for Boards at Banks Soars Amid Cutbacks: Since the financial crisis, compensation for the directors of the nation’s biggest banks has continued to rise even as the banks themselves, facing difficult markets and regulatory pressures, are reining in bonuses and pay.
The Washington Post, North Korean secrecy on bomb test fuels speculation: U.S. officials and independent experts say North Korea appears to have taken unusual steps to conceal details about the nuclear weapon it tested in February, fueling suspicions that its scientists shifted to a bomb design that uses highly enriched uranium as the core.
The Los Angeles Times, Healthcare an obstacle as Republicans court Latinos: Latinos, who have the lowest rates of health coverage in the country, are among the strongest backers of President Obama’s healthcare law. In a recent national poll, supporters outnumbered detractors by more than 2 to 1. Latinos also overwhelmingly see guaranteeing healthcare as a core government responsibility, surveys show.

Lefty Playbook
Brian Beutler explains why amnesty will be a disaster for Republicans politically.
Think Progress highlights two recent oil spills.
Mike Konczal on how an anti-rentier agenda might bring liberals, conservatives together.
John Sides says no, the 2012 election didn’t prove the Republican Party needs a reboot.

Righty Playbook
Peter Suderman on how ObamaCare’s individual mandate could go down.
Ross Douthat says marriage looks different now.
Erick Erickson calls for government to get out of the marriage business.