More Senate Woes: Cloture Fails
A fragile bipartisan compromise that would legalize millions of unlawful immigrants suffered a setback Thursday when it failed a test vote in the Senate, leaving its prospects uncertain.
Still, the measure — a top priority for President Bush that's under attack from the right and left — got a reprieve when Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would give it more time before yanking the bill and moving on to other matters.
"We need to complete this marathon," Reid said.
His decision set the stage for yet another procedural vote later Thursday that will measure lawmakers' appetite for a so-called "grand bargain" between liberals and conservatives on immigration.
By a vote of 33-63, the Senate fell far short of the 60 votes that would have been needed to limit debate on the immigration measure and put it on a path to passage. Republicans — even those who helped craft the measure and are expected to support it — banded together to oppose that move, while a majority of Democrats backed it.
Republicans were seeking assurances they would get chances to add several conservative-backed changes that would toughen the measure.
Proponents in both parties were scrambling to find a way of reversing a blow their compromise sustained earlier Thursday, when the Senate voted to phase out the bill's temporary worker program after five years.
The 49-48 vote just after midnight on making the temporary worker program itself temporary came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected an amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan to eliminate it entirely from the bill. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill.
Dorgan's success on his second effort dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is loathed by many conservatives.
This is very good news because it seems that many in the Senate that were in favor of this bill are finally hearing their constituents calls for it's demise. It was underhanded for Harry Reid to try the cloture vote, knowing the ire that has been raised amongst the American electorate. We are not stupid. We know how to read and comprehend, and those that have read this bill know that it is a disaster waiting to happen.
We know that the bill proponents want this rammed through as quickly as possible. They tried to pull that when the bill was first introduced to the nation when they wanted only one week for debate. Thomas observed this morning that this bill was conceived in secret, and with an alliance between the executive and legislative branches, and next to no input from the experts regarding the economic or security impact on the nation. These are the two gripes that the nation -- both liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat -- have with the bill. I do believe that the Senate has begun to hear the people grousing about this legislation, and that the days are numbered for this slip-shod, ill-conceived legislation.
(Hat-Tip: Captain Ed Morrissey)