We’re shooting at a moving target here but best estimates are that opponents are within six votes or so of killing this monster in its crib when the first cloture vote comes to the floor tomorrow. John Hawkins’s Senate source said last week that the first vote is the time to get it done, otherwise it’ll pick up momentum and force a do-or-die second cloture a few days later that will determine the bill’s fate. Here’s the list of undecideds, again per the Corner:
Bond (R-Mo.), Bingaman (D-N.M.), Burr (R-N.C.), Boxer (D-Calif.), Cochran (R-Miss.), Conrad (D-N.D.), Ensign (R-Nev.), Levin (D-Mich.), Gregg (R-N.H.), Nelson (D-Neb.), Hatch (R-Utah), Webb (D-Va.)
George Voinovich might be in play, too. One of our commenters claims to have called Ben Nelson’s office and been told that he’ll vote yes on cloture but no on the final up-or-down vote itself. That’s a transparent sham designed to give him political cover so that he can plausibly claim later that he voted “against” the bill. The critical vote is cloture, since it requires 60 to proceed; the final vote requires a simple majority, which the amnesty faction probably already has. They don’t need his vote for that but they do need it for cloture, and he’s planning on giving it to them. Here are the Senate phone numbers; even if, like me, you’re too apathetic normally to practice direct democracy, this is a special occasion. If you call Nelson’s office, you might care to mention this result from today’s Rasmussen survey, which, let’s hope to god, will prove to be the final “killer poll” needed to euthanize this sucker:
Among the public, there is a bi-partisan lack of enthusiasm for the Senate bill. It is supported by 22% of Republicans, 23% of Democrats, and 22% of those not affiliated with either major party. It is opposed by 52% of Republicans, 50% of Democrats, and 48% of unaffiliateds.
Update: One down, four to six to go.
Update: Burr’s office is lying to callers.
Update: Damn it.
Update: Boxer says nay, hopefully.
Update: Damn — Noam Askew says Webb is still on the fence.
Update: Martin from MVRWC says he called Kit Bond’s office and was told Bond will vote yes on cloture if his amendment removing the amnesty provision from the bill is accepted. I think that means the second cloture vote, not the first one tomorrow. Presumably Bond’s voting yes on that, then.
Our date with destiny is Tuesday morning (tomorrow) at 11:30.
That is the schedule for dealing with two unrelated bills, including the cloture vote to allow the S. 1639 Kennedy/Bush Comprehensive Amnesty Bill back on the Senate floor.
Your NumbersUSA team of lobbyists — and our allied organizations and Senate staffers — feel that at this time we are 5 votes short of killing this monstrosity of a bill in the first round.
But those last five are proving to be extremely difficult votes to get. Constituency pressure is proving to be about the only thing that works — and it has worked remarkably well in places like Georgia, Texas and even beginning to work in Michigan.
Update: A Senate “insider” who spoke to Rich Lowry says he’s suddenly feeling pessimistic.
Update: Got an e-mail from a reporter friend who says Bond, Cochran, Bingaman, and of course Ben Nelson are all voting for cloture.
It’s going to pass.
Update: Boxer’s voting for cloture too, says Noam Askew.