Conservative Economists Praise the New Immigration Bill Even as GOP senators threaten to kill it By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted May 23, 2013 10:32 AM CDT 30 comments Comments Economist and former John McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, seen testifying on Capitol Hill in this file photo, is the head of the American Action Forum, the group behind the letter. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) (Newser) – Conservative economists appear to have gotten the memo about the GOP's new immigration-friendly stance. More than 100 of them today signed a letter praising the reform bill coming to the Senate floor, saying it would have a "positive impact on population growth, labor force growth, housing, and other markets," the LA Times reports. They cited the Congressional Budget Office's assertion that such a bill would increase average economic growth by 0.1% over the next decade, and trim $300 billion off the federal budget deficit. But even as the economists are providing political cover, many of the Republican senators the Gang of Eight was counting on to back the bill are balking, Politico reports. They want to see changes like more border security and tougher citizenship requirements. But Democrats feel they've given too much ground already, and aren't eager to compromise. And because no one's sure how to get the bill through the House—Politico has another piece on the difficulties Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra is having with it there—the Gang was hoping to amass overwhelming Senate support to exert pressure. "Our goal is to get 70 votes," Chuck Schumer says. "It's going to take a lot of work."