Washington (AFP) – Three of the world’s richest men — Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson — put aside their political differences to unite in scathing condemnation of US lawmakers’ failure to implement immigration reform.
In an opinion column in Friday’s New York Times, the trio, who have a net worth of about $160 billion between them, said that a Congress paralyzed by partisanship is failing US citizens by refusing to make the compromises necessary to overhaul a system that Democrats, Republicans and President Barack Obama all say is broken.
“Americans deserve better than this,” the men wrote, adding that despite their political differences they would be able to draft a bill acceptable to each of them.
They took particular aim at the Republican-led House of Representatives, which has stonewalled several attempts to craft legislation.
The House bill’s differences, the trio argued, could be hammered out with members of the Senate, whose landmark immigration bill passed with bipartisan support one year ago but has languished on Capitol Hill.
“Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest,” the billionaires said.
“A Congress that does nothing about these problems is extending an irrational policy by default.”
The three men may be on the same page with regard to immigration reform, but it is their political differences that makes the column stand out.
Gates, founder and former boss at Microsoft, and Berkshire Hathaway founder and world-renowned investor Buffett have both supported Obama, while Las Vegas Sands Corporation chief executive Adelson is the casino magnate who in 2012 spent nearly $100 million in an effort to defeat Obama’s re-election.
Last year’s Senate bill created a “pathway to citizenship” for many of the 11 million undocumented people in the US, a sticking point for conservative House Republicans who view the provision as amnesty for illegal immigrants.
House Speaker John Boehner has publicly proclaimed his support for immigration reform but has also said efforts to draft a comprehensive bill in 2014 were essentially dead.