The Texas Republican’s amendment was tabled by a vote of 54-43. Because it was a vote to table (to put the amendment aside without debating its merits), that means the 53 aye votes were votes against Cornyn’s amendment, and the 43 nay votes were votes in favor of it.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio broke with the Gang of Eight on the amendment, voting not to table it. All other members of the Gang of Eight voted to table it…
Cornyn’s proposal, called the RESULTS Act, would have increased the number of border patrol agents, and required 100 percent “situational awareness” of the border, and a 90 percent apprehension rate of people attempting to cross illegally before any illegal immigrant could apply for a green card.
This vote was meaningless. Once upon a time it looked like Cornyn’s amendment would be the GOP’s big border-security “improvement” to the Gang of Eight, even though it suffers from the same major flaw as the bill itself by granting probationary legalization to illegals before the border has been secured. But Democrats decided that they needed something more watered down; that’s how we ended up with Corker/Hoeven, the new big “improvement.” This was, then, essentially a free vote for the GOP. Democrats could vote unanimously to kill Cornyn’s bill, knowing that Republicans have now settled on Corker’s bill instead as their big face-saving security gesture, and the GOP could vote unanimously in favor of Cornyn knowing that the bill was going to be killed anyway. That’s what Rubio did. Now, when he’s talking to audiences who haven’t been paying attention to this, he can claim that he voted for border security so strict that Democrats had no choice but to block it. But of course, that’s not what really happened; if Reid and Schumer needed Rubio to be the 51st vote in favor of killing Cornyn’s bill, he would have been. That’s what it means to be a member of the Gang of Eight.
As it turns out, Reid didn’t have 51 votes among Democrats alone. Two Dems, red-staters Joe Manchin and Mark Pryor, voted for Cornyn’s bill in order to impress the conservatives back home. Two more, Amy Klobuchar and Jay Rockefeller, were absent from the session. That left him with 50, needing just one Republican from the Gang of Eight to put him over the top — and McCain, being the GOP’s foremost amnesty shill, had already inveighed against Cornyn’s amendment as a “poison pill” a week ago. He was number 51, which gave fellow Gangsters Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, and Rubio a free pass to vote in favor of Cornyn. Instead, all of them except Rubio voted to kill. So, in fact, did Rand Paul, for reasons that escape me unless he concluded that libertarians would have made a frowny face if he voted for a meaningless border security amendment. That’s how Reid got to 54. Why didn’t the other Gang members join Rubio in at least pretending to be in favor of Cornyn’s bill? I … don’t know. At this point, perhaps, they’ve dropped all pretense of wanting more border security. They’ve already assumed the political risk of becoming the faces of the Gang’s bill on the GOP side. What good is a phony vote to tighten the border a little more going to do for them?
Exit question: Remember six years ago when McCain cursed Cornyn out for being squeamish about parts of the last terrible amnesty proposal?
Update: Rand’s apparently going to try to make it up to border hawks with an amendment of his own that would instantly destroy immigration reform if it passed. Which it won’t.