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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Immigration Update: Cloture passes: 6/27/07- UPDATED

Welcome Flopping Aces Readers, the live blogging of TODAYS debate, where cloture FAILED is here. (That is the link you are actually looking for) Welcome to Wake up America.

[Continuing Updates below] This question is being bumped to the top of this post because I am truly curious about the answer:

Question to readers, anyone with a legal background, is there any official way that the GOP Senators can legally, in court, challenge the constitutionality of Reids procedural actions on this issue?

OH, DON'T miss the very last update at the bottom of this post, the NYT brings us some very welcome news about this issue.

Please visit Right Truth also for a few additional tidbits of info.

Hot Air and Michelle Malkin have been live blogging the vote for cloture and will keep updating.

I have quite a bit to do today so my personal blogging will be light.

From Malkin:

Final vote: Shamnesty prevails, 64-35. Recess ’til 2:15pm. Will the “clay pigeon fly?” Stay tuned.

Basically, Ladies and Gentlemen, our Senate, our elected officials just sold America down the river depite overwhelming opposition on both sides of the voter aisle.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 22% of American voters currently favor the legislation. That’s down a point from 23% a couple of weeks ago and down from 26% when the debate in the Senate began. Fifty percent (50%) oppose the Senate bill while 28% are not sure.

Despite bipartisan opposition with 77% of America being against this travesty of a bill, the Senate voted for cloture anyway.

Are we happy with who we voted into the Senate and the House now?

We voted them in and at the next election it is time to vote them out, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, if they voted for cloture here, we need to vote them out on the next election.

[Update] Roll call can be found here.

[Update #2] Hat Tip to Hot Air, the House GOP, according to Politico's, The Crypt, is planning a resolution this afternoon expressing its opposition and displeasure with this travesty of a bill that the Senate shoved through.

House Republicans are set to vote on a measure Tuesday afternoon rejecting the Senate immigration bill shortly after the upper chamber votes whether to proceed on that debate in yet another hurdle for backers of a comprehensive overhaul.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) offered the resolution in a closed-door meeting of Republican House members on Tuesday morning, surprising many of the lawmakers present.

Leaders were eventually forced to postpone an internal vote because not enough members were in attendance, but they are expected to address the question later this afternoon when more lawmakers can show up.

“Clearly, many of our members have problems with the Senate bill,” said Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, the top GOP vote-counter in the House.

The resolution is a largely symbolic measure, but would signal widespread displeasure of the Senate bill just as that chamber revives debate on the controversial issue, creating an additional roadblock to dissuade wavering Republicans.

The single sentence reads: “Resolved, that the House Republican Conference disapproves of the Senate immigration bill.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio notified an angry White House shortly before Hoekstra introduced the measure, the Republican leader said, adding, “I won’t say they were happy about it.”

Republicans overwhelmingly defeated a motion offered by Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) to ditch consideration of the measure. The 83-28 vote to defeat that motion suggests a broad majority of GOP lawmakers will side with Hoekstra.

"A growing majority of House Republicans are uncomfortable with the product and process of the Senate immigration bill," Hoekstra said in a statement. "A public hearing has never been held on it, and it was crafted in secret by only 12 senators and two cabinet officials."

The Michigan Republican expects his resolution to pass.

Cloture may have passed, but the fight is not over....

[Update] 6/27/07- House GOP's issue the resolution against the Senates Immigration Travesty Bill (Via Michelle Malkin)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Republican Conference today by 114 to 23 passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) that expresses opposition to the Senate immigration bill. “Today’s vote illustrates overwhelming opposition among Republicans in the House to the Senate immigration bill and the process in which it was developed,” Hoekstra said. “The Republican Conference has always advocated for immigration reform, but the Senate bill is bad public policy that does not reflect our position.” The text of the Hoekstra resolution is as follows: “Resolved the House GOP Conference disapproves of the Senate immigration bill.” “We have always reserved concerns about the policies that it advocates, but until now we have remained on the sidelines,” Hoekstra said. “It is important that we publicly express our opposition to the Senate bill before consideration is complete.”

Malkin also has rolling updates throughout the day, so keep checking.

Her 1:13 pm update is quite interesting:

1:13pm update. Webb amendment tabled. Sen. Sessions back on the floor: “The process has not been a pretty one to date. Senators do not have copies of the newly-drafted clay pigeon amendment…The procedure that the majority leader has chosen–he has chosen to utilize a procedure never before used in this Senate. That procedure will allow Sen. Reid to approve every amendment that will be offered to this legislation. If it’s not a part of his clay pigeon, you’re not in…He picks the amendments. That has never happened in history before.” Sessions signals that they have procedural moves in mind to try and stop this. “What would Paul Wellstone say? Or Jesse Helms?”…I object to that process. Sessions is waging a full-frontal assault on the shamnesty bill–economic, border security, historical failures. Mocks the “Masters of the Universe” behind the grand scheme. Rips the bogus triggers and phony fencing promises.

Session's is proving to be quite a guy lately, I am impressed.

The Corner points this out:

Brian Darling, director of Senate relations at the Heritage Foundation, e-mails:

Someone once said not to watch how sausage or legislation are made. Today especially I prefer to be at the sausage factory.

As if the Senate floor situation could get any worse, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's staff is now rewriting the Clay Pigeon amendment behind closed doors. It is the intent of the Majority Leader to bring this new unread Amendment up without the Republicans seeing the language. Yesterday Senator Reid did not have his massive 373 page amendment ready when he started debate on it and mistakes were made in the initial drafting. This fact was not discovered until Republicans objected to waiving the reading of the bill, and the Senate Clerk had nothing to read. Shockingly, Reid scrambled around, put the floor in morning business for a few hours, and then allowed Kennedy's staff make final changes to the amendment. The language was finally made available around 5:30 pm and Reid "graciously" gave Republicans the night to go through it before moving to it this morning.

This morning Republicans announced that Reid's amendment did not include the Sessions EITC provision in the touchback section, despite the fact that all previously passed amendments were supposed to be incorporated in the bill and the Clay Pigeon amendment. This oversight is the only mistake so far found, yet there may be other mistakes and intentional omissions in the 373 page amendment. This morning Reid put the floor back in morning business and sent his staff off to rewrite the mega amendment once again. Today, "the most deliberative body in the world," is left to debate legislation that they do not have a copy of. When Republicans asked if the amendment could be read once it was written, Reid objected because "it would take up too much time." Reid is promising the changes in the new amendment to be minimal, yet he has yet to allow Republicans to see the amendment, much less to check the changes.

This is a true outrage and shows the extreme measures the proponents of Amnesty will use to pass this bill, without any significant debate, nor any time to read.

This promises to be a very tiring day as well as boring because I am going to bite the bullet and watch Cspan2 to see how Harry Baghdad Reid is going to throw the constitution as well as the rules out the window to try to pass this thing that he KNOWS will never make it passed the House as is.

11:27am (Arizona timezone)- Sen. David Vitter is making it clear that Reid is stripping them of their rights of process as Senators and calls what Reid is doing is disgraceful and wonders if it will come to the point where to make a statement they will have to read from a script that Reid writes...heh

11:28am- Sen. Jeff Sessions is now taking the process to task as well as Reid.

11:42am- Reid speaks to how his unfairness isn't really unfair, Vitter breaks in for a minute and asks straight out if other amendments are going to be considered, other than those "handpicked" by Reid and after beating around the bush as much as possible, the answer was ...NOOOOO.

11:50am- Sen. Kit Bond is speaking about the lack of need to grant citizenship to illegal aliens that have only come here to work as well as not having to follow the same process that others that came here legally have followed.

Bond also says border security and enforcement should not be held hostage to Amnesty and that illiegal immigrants should not be rewarded for coming here illegally.

Hot Air is keeping track of potential NO keep checking Allah out too.

12:10pm- They are voting on whether to table Bond's amendment...will update after. Webb's amendment didn't make it through earlier, so I wonder if he will keep his word and vote NO as he promised he would if his amendment did not go through.

In another interesting article from The Hill, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), says this immigration bill, should it pass through the Senate is Dead on Arrival.

Hoekstra said the amnesty provision, no matter how strict the language, was a deal-breaker for most House Republicans.

“That’s why the fundamental bill has no credibility, and basically what we are saying today is it is dead on arrival in the House, we can’t have secret deals, this has to go through committee, it has to go in pieces,” echoed Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.). “A comprehensive bill will not pass the House.”

12:21pm- Still waiting for them to finishing voting on "tabling" Bond's amendment.

While we are waiting on this latest vote, let me point out Jim DeMint is pointing out a report from the Congressional Research Service tells us that the $4.4 billion for Border Security can very well go towards AMNESTY. (Report can be found here)

June 27th, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) released Wednesday a report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) which says the new Senate immigration bill contains a major loophole in border security. Supporters of the bill say it provides $4.4 billion in immediate mandatory spending for border enforcement, but according to the CRS analysis, the funds could also be used immediately to implement the amnesty provisions in the bill.

“This is just another example of how this bill claims to do one thing but does something else entirely. It’s another example of an empty promise being used to buy votes for amnesty,” said Senator DeMint. “The supporters of this bill have been running around trying to convince people that this money will be used to secure the border first, but now we know that’s not the case. If you read the fine print, the bill says this money can also be used for amnesty.”

According to the CRS report provided to Senator DeMint, the mandatory spending in the bill could immediately be used for Z visas. It says, “(r)eceiving, processing, and adjudicating applications for the Z visa authorized by Title VI of the Act is one of the trigger mechanisms outlined in Section 1; this means that funding from the Immigration Security Account could be used for this purpose.”

In addition, the report says the funds could be used for Y visas and other programs once the trigger mechanisms have been met but it does not require the Secretary of Homeland Security to certify the trigger. The report says, “S. 1639 does not explicitly stipulate whether the certification required by Section 1 would have to take place prior to funding being made available for the additional purposes outlined in Section 2(C).”

“Not only can this money be used for things other then border security and enforcement, it looks like another backdoor trick to promote amnesty,” said Senator DeMint. “If Congress appropriates money later this year for the border, the money provided in this bill will turn into a slush fund the Administration can use to ensure illegal immigrants are legalized.”

Then again, are we surprised that they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes and hide the truth?

12:23pm- Bond amendment DEAD---56/41.

Malkin shows us the letter that 5 GOP Senators sent to Reid about his "cherry picking" amendments that would be allowed to come up to vote.

Then Baghdad Reid's response.

12:40pm- DeMint is taking Reid to task for "forcing this bill through the Senate" and he points out that the American people do not appreciate his "heavy handed tactics".

12:42- Vitter says his rights as Senator are being violated by Reid.

1:21pm- I was posting a couple other pieces about Iran and the rioting there and a Fairness Doctrine update, so I will bring you the latest on todays Senate activities from Michelle Malkin:

4:16pm update. Behind the scenes, the vote-trading deals are ongoing. A source tells me that some senators who were promised that their amendments would be included in the Reid amendment package are now being leaned on by Kennedy and the Grand Schemers to guarantee cloture votes in return. John Ensign is one of those senators.

John Ensign (R., Nev.)
h. 202-224-6244 Fax 202-228-2193
Alternate phones:
(702) 388-6605
(775) 686-5770
(775) 885-9111

4:07pm update. Dodd amendment is tabled, 56-41. Reid refuses to yield for a parliamentary inquiry from Vitter.
An unnamed amendment has been withdrawn without unanimous consent. Reid says unanimous consent is not needed. Menendez-Obama-Feingold amendment to amend the point system and move it back to favoring family reunification is apparently up next. Menendez speaks about his amendment. Vitter is trying to get recognized for a parliamentary inquiry. Vitter: Will the majority leader yield? Menendez keeps speaking over them–engaging in debate despite the rules laid down by Reid that have prohibited GOP opponents from debating.

Reid responds to Menendez. Moves to vote on tabling the amendment.

3:59pm update. Vote is underway on tabling a Dodd amendment. Meantime, Noam Askew hears that Domenici will vote against cloture tomorrow. There’s buzz that Nelson and Bond are also likely no’s.

I will continue updating...they are voting yet again.

1:40pm- Sessions is speaking again, he has 30 minutes to debate...... I will bring you a summary of what he says when he is done.

1:42- Sessions is pointing out that the people that "enforce these laws" are completely against this bill. He is also making it clear that this bill will NOT provide enforcement of our laws, depite the "good intentions" of the bills proponents.

Sessions on law: Our nation is a nation of laws, it is our strength and we should not create a system that will not restore that law at our borders.

The level of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION will double if we not reduce illegal immigraions, this is a grand bargain we should NOT take and if we do we will regret it, the American people will not go for it and the polls show that the American people are overwhelmingly against this bill and are "hostile" to this legislation and that Senate should "slow down" and take this into consideration.

Pointing out that the 370+ amendment had so many errors it takes ANOTHER amendment to correct them because of the rush and that they OWE THEIR CONSTITUENTS better than this.

Session is now pointing out that unless an illegal has been fingerprinted they can simply come, provide false names and obtain identification here with that false name and will endanger our country.

National Security Nightmare is what the bill is being called.

This bill is offering terrorist a new way to obtain legal status here in America to attack the USA.

Good points.

He is pointing out clearly that no bill that our elected officials CANNOT defend to their constituents should be passed!!!

Question to readers, anyone with a legal background, is there any official way that the GOP Senators can legally, in court, challenge the constitutionality of Reids procedural actions on this issue?

Leave answers in the comments section.

I have some things to do, so continue watching Michelle Malkin and Hot Air for updates on todays Senate happenings.

Okay so I cannot resist, The Corner shows us that Reids games might just backfire kill the bill anyway...heh

[Update] The NYT brings us good news? Bestill my heart. (I think all our phone calls and emails are forcing our Senators to rethink the logic of voting for this because it means political suicide for them.)

WASHINGTON, June 27 — The Senate immigration bill’s chances of passage seemed in doubt late this afternoon as several lawmakers signaled that they were undecided about supporting the legislation.

The bill is in more danger “than I thought a few hours ago,” Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, told Bloomberg News. His comments came after the Senate voted down several attempts to make the immigration bill stricter, including one that would have barred illegal immigrants from a chance for eventual citizenship.

But the bill’s very fate was in doubt as senators who voted Tuesday to allow the bill to go forward said today that they were either now against allowing a vote on final passage or were inclined that way.

The wavering senators were Richard Burr of North Carolina, Christopher Bond of Missouri, John Ensign of Nevada and Pete Domenici of New Mexico, all Republicans, and Jim Webb and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, according to Bloomberg News.

The stances of those six are crucial, since all voted Tuesday to allow the debate to proceed. That cloture motion got 64 “yes” votes, or four more than necessary under Senate rules.

Another cloture motion is scheduled for Thursday, and if it does not get the required 60 votes, immigration legislation will probably be shelved for the foreseeable future.

The growing unhappiness of the crucial senators became known after Mr. Bond’s amendment, closing the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, was defeated by a vote of 56 to 41, with the lineup crossing party lines, as was true of other amendments throughout the afternoon.

Go read the rest, then pick up your phone and CALL, then open your email and EMAIL, then do it all over again, until these clowns realize that they can vote for the bill and then get voted the hell out of office come their next election, or vote against the bill and keep their supporters.

No middle ground with a bill as horrible as this.

[Update] Last update for the day, brought to you from Politico, via Malkin again.

Proponents of the Senate immigration bill were unable to block an amendment Wednesday on identification requirements, casting doubt on whether the overall measure will clear a crucial test vote set for Thursday morning.

The bill survived its first cloture motion Tuesday by a vote of 64 to 35. Only five senators would need to change their position for the bill to collapse Thursday.

It just so happens that four senators who voted Tuesday to move the bill forward have since seen the Senate reject their amendments, potentially moving some of them into the “no” column. The list includes Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

At least one of them, Webb, has indicated that he is a likely to oppose the bill.

Menendez has not made a decision, his spokesman said. Dodd’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Bond was reportedly moving against the bill.

And a fifth senator, Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), said he would vote against cloture.

“It’s a tight vote,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the chief Democratic negotiator. “We are going to work, and work hard.”


I will continue this on another thread tomorrow and will link it here when it has been started.

Check out the update here.