Open thread: Senate to vote on Gang of Eight bill at 5:30 ET; Update: Cloture passes; Update: 67-27; Update: Full roll added

To be more specific, they’re voting on the bill plus the Corker/Hoeven amendment. My prediction: 72 yes votes, despite the phony border-security “triggers” and despite the fact that the bill now reeks of “Cornhusker Kickback”-style buyoffs to bring fencesitting Republicans on board. No matter. Schumer’s goal was 70 and I expect he’ll get it, which will help him with his exciting new “there’ll be mass demonstrations if the House doesn’t pass this thing” talking point.

Did you know that amnesty for illegals is a “civil rights” issue? You do now:

“This has the potential of becoming the next major civil rights movement. I could envision in the late summer or early fall if Boehner tries to bottle the bill up or put something in without a path to citizenship — if there’s no path to citizenship, there’s not a bill — but if he tries to bottle it up or do things like that, I could see a million people on the Mall in Washington,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Schumer said business leaders, evangelical leaders and CEOs of high tech companies would join the public call for action by the House on immigration.

He’s kidding himself if he thinks that summer will bring pressure on the House to pass, rather than kill, the bill, but never mind that. Just let it sink in that this tool, who’s supposed to be Republicans’ chief partner on bipartisan kumbaya immigration reform, and whom Lindsey Graham can’t praise highly enough, is already threatening to demagogue them into oblivion if they don’t do his bidding by passing the Gang of Eight bill or something very much like it. Do you suppose we’ll see this tactic again five years from now, after the bill passes, when Schumer decides that he’d like the path to citizenship to start sooner than scheduled? I don’t know if he’s got the muscle to get a million people in D.C., but he’s got something.

The vote will be carried live on C-SPAN 2, so tune in or click here. I’ve seen a bunch of posts around the blogosphere today claiming that this is a career-ender for Marco Rubio. It should be, but it isn’t. And the reason it should be isn’t just the substance of the bill itself but the deceit he practiced on this subject to get elected. But let’s be real: If we were willing to nominate John McCain, who’s every inch the amnesty shill Rubio is if not more, then we’re going to at least consider nominating Rubio, notwithstanding today’s clusterfark. (Didn’t we nominate the guy who signed RomneyCare into law too?) Rubio may well be the best retail politician in the field come 2016. He’ll argue, credibly, that he’s the GOP’s most electable candidate, which will appeal even to some righties who are angry with him now. He’s lost some conservative votes irretrievably (like mine), but as I’ve reminded you more than once lately, it’s not the people like you and me who follow politics by the hour who choose the nominee. It’s the low-information voters and the wealthy Republican Super PACs who influence them, and Rubio will have plenty to tell both of those factions. Bear in mind too that if the House ends up killing this bill, which is quite possible, then Rubio gets the best of both worlds — he’ll have proved his pro-immigration bona fides by shepherding the bill through the Senate and he’ll bear no political responsibility for the failings in practice of a bill that didn’t pass. Not only that, but once immigration is off the table, Rubio will tack hard right on some hot-button issue or issues in order to remind conservatives that he’s really one of them at heart. There’s probably no Republican in America who will work harder to pick fights with Obama than Marco Rubio come 2014. How will you feel about him after he spends 12-18 months doing nothing but throwing roundhouses at The One? All he needs to do is win the nomination, and then guys like me who choose to protest this fiasco by staying home on election day will become the Enemies of Conservatism for not holding our noses and voting for him in the interests of defeating his Democratic opponent. Rubio knows what he’s doing.

While we wait, read Jonathan Strong’s piece at the Corner quoting various former Rubio supporters on how disappointed they are. Whatever. We’ll all fall in line in due time.

Update: Once you’re done with Strong’s piece, page through the data from Pew’s new poll on immigration. Two numbers jump out at me at first glance. First, while tea partiers overwhelmingly say that illegals should be allowed to apply for legal status only after the border is under control, non-tea-party Republicans are split evenly between that position and allowing illegals to apply while border improvements are being made. That’s exactly what I mean when I say that Rubio’s career isn’t over. He’s got a big headache among conservatives, but not all Republicans are conservatives. By a long shot.

Second, when you do a deep demographic dive by age, race, gender, region, education, etc., on when illegals should be allowed to apply for legal status, only two of the 16 groups listed here show more than 50 percent support for suspending legalization until after the border is under control. One is conservative Republicans, the other is African-Americans, a rare alliance when most of the rest of the electorate is on the other side. More data here:


Update: It occurs to me that I wasn’t 100% clear in the post that today is a vote on cloture, not on the final bill. The bill doesn’t technically pass the Senate today, but obviously if it gets 60+ for cloture, it’s going to get 51 on the final vote in a few days. I think all of our readers understand that but if any didn’t, hopefully they do now.

Update: The vote’s still open as I write this at 6:20 ET, but they’ve got more than enough to invoke cloture. I believe the tally right now is 66 votes. Schumer wants 70. Stay tuned.

Oh, by the way: CBO announced just before the vote this afternoon that Corker’s and Hoeven’s amendment will increase the cost of the bill by $40 billion. Never mind that, though; CBO isn’t allowed to estimate the entitlement costs of amnesty 30-40 years from now, so it’s not worth taking its deficit estimates on this seriously.

Update: Can’t find an updated roll as of 6:30 but TPM’s Benjy Sarlin says he thinks there are 69 yeses so far with one or both of the Republicans from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, somehow delayed. At least one of them is likely to vote yes. If Sarlin’s count is right, that’s the magic number for Schumer.

Here’s a list of R’s so far, via the boss emeritus. More may be coming:

Update: Reid finally cut the vote short at a few minutes before 7 p.m. ET. Final tally: 67-27, but I believe at least a few of the six senators who missed it where likely yeses. Schumer’s going to claim 70 votes in principle even if they weren’t official. I’ll post the roll as soon as it’s available.

Update: As promised, here’s the roll. The six senators who didn’t vote: Republicans Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson, Mike Lee, and Mike Enzi, and Democrats Sherrod Brown and Mark Udall. I assume both Dems would have voted yes, and WaPo had both Chambliss and Isakson as “potential” yeses. Figure at least one of them would have caved. There’s your 70 votes.

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David Strom 12:01 PM on October 07, 2022