Corker and Hoeven both said they expected the legislation to be formally unveiled in the Senate late Thursday. While it had not yet materialized after several hours, officials said the agreement on border security provisions had been reached, and other matters remained under discussion.
The agreement was a turn in the Senate spotlight for the two men, who have spent days in secretive talks with fellow Republicans, and then with Schumer and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
"We must secure the border first" before anyone in the country illegally can gain citizenship, Hoeven said on the Senate floor. "That's what Americans demand and that's what we must do." He said the 10-year cost included $25 billion for the additional Border Patrol agents, $3 billion for fencing and another $3.2 billion for other measures. Other officials said the overall cost of the security upgrade could reach $40 billion over a decade.
Corker told reporters the plan amounted to 'border security on steroids" and said it would impart "tremendous momentum" to the bill on the Senate floor. By day's end, Republican Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Dean Heller of Nevada said they, too, were prepared to vote for the bill if the changes were incorporated.
That brought to 10 the number of Republicans who have indicated they will vote for the bill, far more than enough to assure it will have the 60 required to overcome any attempted filibuster by last-ditch opponents. Democrats control 54 seats, and party aides have said they do not expect any defections from their side of the political aisle.
Apart from the border security measures, the legislation as drafted already included implementation of a biometric system to track the comings and goings of foreigners at air and sea ports as well as land crossings, and a requirement for businesses to verify the legal status of job seekers.