It is a cloture vote, designed to curb debate. But the vote will be viewed as a key test as to whether the Senate can approve the immigration bill … perhaps in the next week.
The Senate has debated various aspects of the bill for a couple weeks now. But like all pieces of legislation, the challenge is finding the “sweet” spot. That seems to have happened in the past few days, thanks in part to a border security amendment crafted by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D. – with some behind-the-scenes engineering from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Known colloquially as the “border surge,” the 119-page amendment would amp up security on the U.S. border with Mexico and double Border Patrol forces.
This amendment is key to potential passage of the Gang of 8 immigration plan because it seems to unlock a significant tranche of Republican votes. Republicans have long been skeptical about immigration reform – unless someone propounds a feasible solution for first securing the border. In the eyes of many Republican senators, the Corker-Hoeven amendment does just that. Hum…what part of this amendment equates to reform?
So Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., teed up the most significant vote on immigration reform in the Senate in years for today. Reid latched the Corker/Hoeven plan to a refined amendment offered by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
This is the “test.” If the plan marshals more than 60 votes, the immigration bill could very well find itself on a pathway to passage.
“Invoking cloture” in the Senate is a method for curbing debate. Unlimited debate is the Senate’s norm. So in order to halt a filibuster, the Senate must invoke cloture and terminate the debate later in the week. But it needs a supermajority of 60 votes to do so.
Here is why 60 votes are so important on immigration reform:
The Senate needs just a simple majority to OK most measures. But the trick is ending debate. That is where 60 votes come in to play. So if the Senate can score anything north of 60 votes on today’s cloture vote, the immigration reform bill is in business. It will have secured wide, bipartisan support – well above the simple majority threshold of 51 votes. That simultaneously plows the procedural road, preventing any senator from stopping it.
The higher the vote total, the better, for supporters of the bill – because it could nudge the House to act. (And the vote does not immediately halt debate. It just limits debate to an additional 30 hours.)
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders know that right now they cannot pass an immigration reform bill without Democratic support. That is the coalition which ruptured last week on the farm bill.
It doesn’t really matter what the outcome will be – I don’t know why, nor does 81 percent of the American people understand why so little is mentioned about border security in the original offering.
We do believe that with the addition of the Corker/Hoeven amendment which is really a concession toward “Band-Aid treatment” regarding border security.
“The special interests — La Raza, the unions, the corporate world, the big agriculture businesses, the food processors — they are the ones that made the agreement in this process, and the senators just sort of ratified it. And they can’t agree to a change because they promised these special-interest groups,” Sessions said.
In reality the way this entire legislation pans out for any concerned “Keep America Sovereign” is showing just how powerful the corruptive aspects within the government are.