Before the Senate voted 82-15 on Tuesday afternoon to officially allow the debate to move forward on immigration legislation, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) delivered a 14-minute speech in support — in Spanish.
It’s not the first time Spanish has been spoken on the Senate floor, but it is a rare occurrence.
“Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past, but let’s also remember that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good,” Kaine said, USA Today reported of the English version of his prepared remarks. “Finding a perfect solution should not stand in the way of progress.”
Take a look at the speech:
Kaine revealed his plans on Twitter to deliver his remarks in Spanish earlier today.
Fellow Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, also a Democrat, called Kaine a “show off” on Twitter.
USA Today noted that Kaine is fluent in Spanish after running a school for boys in Honduras for a year.
President Barack Obama prodded Congress Tuesday to send him a bill by fall that would remake the nation’s immigration laws.
“Congress needs to act, and that moment is now, ” Obama said, surrounded by immigration advocates, business and religious leaders, law enforcement officials and others in the East Room of the White House.
“There’s no reason Congress can’t get this done by the end of the summer,” the president said. “There’s no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we’ve had in years to address this problem in a way that’s fair to middle class families, business owners and legal immigrants.”
The procedural measures the Senate is expected to vote on would boost border security and workplace enforcement, allow tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country, and create a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.
Both votes were expected to succeed by comfortable margins, because even some senators with deep misgivings about the immigration bill said the issue deserved a Senate debate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.