You won’t be able to miss Florida Sen. Marco Rubio this weekend, and that’s probably on purpose.
The Republican rising star will appear on seven Sunday shows, including Meet the Press, to preview the immigration bill being offered by the Senate’s Gang of Eight. The appearances are a turning-point, not only for the future of a comprehensive immigration bill, but for Rubio’s own political success, as he looks toward 2016.
Rubio’s Sunday show sweep, coupled with outreach to conservative radio shows and Spanish-language news outlets, comes after the Republican senator dragged his feet in recent weeks on fully backing a bipartisan deal.
Several other members of the Gang of Eight, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, announced the Gang had a deal, in principal, weeks ago. But it was Rubio who released several cautious statements to say the plan was not finished. He also wrote a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., to ask for a series of hearings on immigration reform. As a nod to Rubio, it appears there will be one hearing, next Wednesday, April 17, followed by a series of meeting where experts will answer questions about the bill.
“Certainly Sen. Rubio has played a very significant and positive role and I know for his own politics as well as for the success of the effort he wants to bring the broadest cross-section of his party and those that he appeals to, to his cause,” said New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democratic member of the Gang of Eight, on Jansing & Co.
Rubio was also one of eleven Republicans to dine at the White House Thursday night, raising what is already a high-profile in Washington. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll puts his approval rating at 28%, but it jumps to 49% among Republicans and 56% among Romney voters.
But, the success of the immigration bill could be a major legislation achievement on his political resume. Politico reports a Democratic aide says Rubio “has gone all in” on the immigration bill and will be a huge part of selling the deal to fellow Republicans. His chief of staff tweeted out details, including how the path to citizenship would work.
“He has been on the offensive here for several months meeting with conservative talk show hosts, conservative editorial boards, making the case,” said National Journal reporter Chris Frates.
Mendez confirmed on Jansing & Co. the goal is to unveil immigration reform bill backed by the Senate’s Gang of Eight next Tuesday.
“We are just finalizing all of the agreements and that’s the good news. We have agreements on all the major issues, a pathway to citizenship, border security, future flow of workers, agreements between AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” Mendendez said, “pounding out the legislative language to endure those agreements are fully encompassed is the hard part.”