Senate amnesty bill dead?
Is the bill dead...or just severely wounded...or perhaps playing possum? After failing to invoke cloture yesterday, (and then a second attempt), which amounted to a test vote of sorts, Harry Reid pulled the bill from the floor. From the AP:
WASHINGTON - The Senate divisions that derailed a White House-backed immigration bill - for now, at least - mirror the U.S. society's deep differences over the issue, according to polling data, lawmakers and analysts. Those gaps will challenge any effort to get the measure back on track.
While most Senate Democrats appeared to back the bill, several liberal members said it did too little to keep immigrant families together and protect jobs for U.S.-born workers.
The split in the Republican Party was more obvious. The issue pitted social conservatives, who insisted that illegal immigrants not be granted "amnesty" for entering the country unlawfully, against business groups hungry for willing workers in hotels, restaurants, construction sites and other comparatively low-wage, low-skilled workplaces.
A bipartisan group of senators tried for weeks to bridge the chasms, but fell glaringly short Thursday night. Needing 60 votes to end debate and schedule a final vote on the bill itself, they won only 45. Senate leaders set aside the legislation until further notice.
Further notice? That's what scares me. Yes, we appeared to have beaten this thing back again, just like last year's victory in the House...but the point is WE HAD TO DO IT AGAIN. In Washington, bad ideas don't die. You think you kill them, but just like some creature in a horror movie, just when you think it's dead, it comes back to life again...or at least for a sequel next year.
The only way we're likely to take enough steam away from the supporters of all that's bad about this bill is if we push another bill that does all the things we want..and that the American people want in overwhelming numbers. For instance, a bill that would provide REAL border enforcement and security and would provide REAL verification and documentation of foreign workers who are here LEGALLY and then fine and punish businesses that hire illegals. That turns off the magnet that brings them here to begin with and makes it more difficult to get in...and makes it more difficult (and less desirable) for those who are here illegally to stay.
The problem with the current bill (and the one we defeated last year) is that the proponents of amnesty and cheap labor try to use just enough of what we want in the bill (more border guards, etc.) to get all of what they want. The "Grand Bargain" they call it. More like a Grand Hustle. The bottom line is this is a battle we're likely to have to keep fighting until the guys on our side can either pass a better bill like I described, or we simply apply the resources to enforce existing law. But I'm not holding my breath.
Keep an eye on that bill...it'll be back.
* Newsbusters notes ABC's all torn up about the bill going down
* Captain Ed:
Procedurally, the Senate can revisit the legislation any time they want. However, it seems unlikely that they will try again this session. The members of the coalition took a beating from their constituents over the last three weeks, and for some, the political moment has passed. They do not want to sail back into those waters, at least not without a guarantee of achieving something that would make the journey worth the pain. ...
If they paid attention at all, they would understand that they need to rebuild credibility by tackling the issues in order. Build the security fence they passed last year first, and bolster the Border Patrol. Fix the visa management system that had been mandated for completion two years ago. Once those border-control solutions are in place and working, then debate normalization -- and I think they will find the American public more willing to work with them.
Right Wing News has an insider account on how it went down:
A GOP Aide, who's one of my sources in the Senate, gave me the rundown on what happened to the Senate bill today.
After the 2nd cloture vote failure at noon on Thursday, Harry Reid could not get unanimous consent to call up amendments to the bill because Jim DeMint refused to give his consent. This was extremely problematic for Reid because he wanted to get in votes on 6 more amendments before the last try at a cloture vote.
At that point, all the senators who were participants in the "Grand Compromise" AKA the "Masters of the Universe" by the opponents of the bill, leaned on DeMint to try to get him to give consent for the bill to move forward. Unfortunately for them, DeMint wouldn't budge. This essentially killed the entire afternoon that the pro-amnesty side hoped to use to shore up support for the bill.