Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Monday became irate and yelled at Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) during a Senate hearing at the suggestion that he had used last week’s Boston Marathon bombing to try and delay immigration reform.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday, Grassley had said that knowing the immigration status of the Boston bombers would “help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.”
“How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill before us?” he asked.
In his opening remarks on Monday, committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said that he was troubled that some people would use the tragedy in Boston to slow down immigration reform.
“Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous act of these two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hardworking people,” Leahy remarked. “A nation as strong as ours can welcome the oppressed and persecuted without making compromise on our security. We are capable of vigilance in pursuit of these values.”
Grassley made it clear that he had taken Leahy’s opening statement personally.
“If you want to want to avoid partisanship, I would say, let’s be very deliberate,” the Iowa Republican said. “And I want you to take note of the fact that when you proposed gun legislation, I didn’t accuse you of using the Norsetown [sic] killings as an excuse.”
“And I don’t hear don’t hear any criticism of people — when there’s 14 people killed in West, Texas — and demanding and taking advantage of that tragedy to warn about more government action to make sure that fertilizer factories are safe,” he continued. “I think we are taking advantage of an opportunity — when once in 25 years we deal with immigration — to make sure that every base is covered.”
Schumer later added that some were using the Boston bombings as a “excuse for not doing a bill or delaying it many months or years.”
“I never said that!” Grassley yelled, pointing his finger at the New York Democrat. “I never said that!”
“I never said you did,” Schumer replied as Leahy tried to gavel the session to order. “Those remarks were not aimed at anyone on this committee or the three witnesses. There are people out there — you’ve read it in the newspapers — who have said it.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast April 22, 2013.