There was much speculation that Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson would have supported advancing immigration reform legislation had flight delays not caused them to miss Monday’s key procedural vote.

Chambliss is retiring next year and Isakson has shown a willingness to cross party lines on occasion. But in a joint statement, the two Republicans announced that they would have voted “no” had they arrived in time to cast their votes. Additionally, neither sounds particularly jazzed about supporting the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform package when it comes up for a final vote later this week.

The bill, as amended by a compromise border security amendment, advanced in the Senate Monday on a 67-27 procedural vote in which 15 Republicans supported the measure.

Following is the full statement from Chambliss and Isakson.

 Monday, June 24, 2013


WASHINGTON - Today, the United States Senate voted to end debate on the Leahy substitute amendment #1183 to S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

The motion to end debate requires 60 votes in favor, regardless of the number of senators voting against. Due to flight delays, U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., missed the cloture vote. Chambliss and Isakson would have voted no on the motion to end debate. 

The motion to end debate passed by a vote of 67-27. There will now be a vote to adopt the Leahy amendment #1183 later in the week.“I regret my flight delay tonight prevented me from voting against ending debate on the 1,200 page Leahy substitute amendment,” said Chambliss. “We all know our immigration system is broken and we need to fix it. However, we should be having a full and open debate on solutions, not rushing to finish the bill before Sen. Reid’s artificial deadline.  I have serious concerns with several provisions in the bill including border security, interior enforcement, and the program designed to address our agricultural labor workforce, and until those concerns are addressed I cannot support limiting debate.”  

“I regret that I missed today’s vote because my first flight was canceled and my next flight was delayed by bad weather. Had I been here for the vote, I would have voted no on this motion to end debate on this amendment,” said Isakson. “While I appreciate and applaud the vast improvements in the border security provisions, I feel there were still too many waivers and other loopholes that could have allowed green cards to be issued before our nation’s borders were truly secured.”