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Is the Immigration Bill Dead, or Just Resting?

June 8, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Last night, after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) failed to bring the debate to an end, the Senate’s attempt to reform Immigration policy came to an end. Now, the question is whether the bill is gone for good or if it will be brought back for a second chance.

The final and deciding vote last night came on Reid’s second attempt to invoke cloture, a motion that sets a time limit on the debate. Sixty votes were needed to pass the cloture motion. Reid’s attempt only attracted 45 votes — his first cloture attempt earlier in the day had attracted a mere 34 votes. The bill was brought to the Senate as a delicately balanced compromise, and allowing the amending process to continue would mean that the key provisions that make the compromise work, would remain open to attack. So, after falling 15 votes short of ending the amending process, Reid decided to pull the bill so as to not waste any more valuable Senate time on it.

President Bush, who had been hoping the bill would pass and be remembered as his great domestic victory, is trying to bring the bill back, calling Reid’s withdrawal of it, premature.

An anonymous GOP aide thinks the bill will be back :

>First, yes, the victory yesterday – a product of tireless efforts by a handful of conservative Senators and staff – is a nice pause in this debacle. But I am afraid that is all it may be… the White House is still 100% committed to getting this bill passed. Harry Reid is looking to actually accomplish SOMETHING for crying out loud… and there is no tiring by … the entire “deal-making” team.
The White House has a full plan of attack. They are ready to start plucking votes one-by-one. Conservatives should note precisely which Senators were with us on defeating cloture and compare that to how Senators may change if the bill comes back… in other words, we should make sure we know which Senators are bought-off if the White House does what we believe they will.

Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarter’s is not so sure:

>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.

The New York TImes and others are reporting that several members of the bipartisan group that originally negotiated the bill, are planning to continue fighting to see it approved:

>“The vote was obviously a big disappointment, but it makes no sense to fold our tent, and I certainly don’t intend to,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and a chief author of the bill. “Doing nothing is totally unacceptable”
>
>Other proponents said they still saw life in the legislation despite the blow in the Senate.
>
>“This matter is on life support, but it is not dead,” said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and another central architect of the plan.

Be sure to keep checking the news and blog coverage for updates on the future of this legislation.

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