Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Immigration "compromise" update - tomorrow is do or die

Tomorrow is do or die for the immigration "compromise" bill this legislative cycle - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is tired of additional Republican amendments and is going to put a vote to the floor tomorrow on whether to limit debate on the bill. If he gets the requisite 60 votes, then expect a vote on the actual bill by next week.

The majority leader said he wanted to complete work on the legislation this week, and he suggested that Republicans were trying to “stall this bill” with amendments. “When is enough enough?” he asked.

“People are looking for excuses on the Republican side to kill this bill,” he said.

His announcement provoked an outcry from Republican supporters and opponents of the bill, who said the Senate needed more time.

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chief Republican architect of the bill, said “it would be a big mistake” to try to invoke cloture this week.

A motion to cut off debate would be “an extreme act of bad faith,” Mr. Kyl said, and he asserted on Tuesday afternoon that “we are not anywhere near finishing this bill.”

Otherwise, we can wave goodbye to this "family destruction" bill, and wait for a Democratic President in 08, as well as control of both chambers of Congress to pass a bill that truly rewards family values. Btw, the above scenario looks promising, because Kyl is the Republican lynchpin (pun intended) in the bipartisan coalition of senators. If he gets pissed off and goes, so goes the bill and any chance of it passing.

Tonight, Senators and their staffers are hurriedly trying to hash out compromises and figure out which amendments are key and which would weaken the tentative coalition.

Amendments that passed:

By a vote of 71 to 22, the Senate on Tuesday adopted an amendment that seeks to protect American workers by requiring employers, in all cases, to try to recruit Americans before hiring foreign workers.

The Senate Democratic whip, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, joined Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, in offering this proposal. Theirs is one of the many unlikely alliances forged in the immigration debate.

The main danger to this current bill is that President Bush is willing to sign it. I don't just mean this in the "I don't trust anything Dubya wants" sense, but also in the sense that unlike many bills that the Democrats want to see passed, this bill doesn't need a veto-proof majority of 67 Senators (which would be pretty hard to achieve given the 51-49 partisan split in the Senate.) So as long as Kennedy and Kyl can get 50 or more Senators' support, this thing goes into conference with House representatives, and I would hope that the conference committee would use the Gutierrez STRIVE bill as a model instead (though it still has flaws). If this sham bill gets used as a model, I'd rather see it die in committee. And if a bill comes out of that, and as long as a simple majority of US Senators votes for it, our dear leader has said he will support it (presuming it keeps all the trappings that leading anti-immigrant group FAIR approves of.)

Me, I'm waiting to see what Democratic presidential candidates do to send out any donations or make any endorsements. I'm also waiting on the fate of this bill to donate to any of the national party committees, but I will continue to work for and support local elected officials who are taking leadership roles on this.

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