In 84-15 vote, Senate moves forward on immigration reform

Comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed a significant hurdle Tuesday when the Senate voted overwhelmingly to begin consideration of the lightning-rod bill.

More than 25 Republicans, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), voted to take up the measure in the 84-15 vote, revealing a deep well of potential support.

The vote tally was a promising sign of bipartisanship and the legislation appeared to have strong momentum after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted Tuesday that immigration reform would become law by year’s end.

Democratic and Republican leaders on Tuesday began jockeying for leverage on amendments to rework the fragile compromise hammered out by the Senate’s Gang of Eight. The legislation spans more than 1,000 pages.

While many Republicans are open to passing a bill out of the Senate, their support ultimately depends on their colleagues accepting amendments to strengthen border security and restrict federal benefits for immigrants with provisional legal status.

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