There’s speculation on Twitter that Reid’s pushing this and DADT to soothe the lefties in his base who are still screeching about the tax cuts deal. I doubt it, though: Assuming the GOP caucus sticks to its pledge not to vote yes on anything until the tax bill passes, this one’s headed for filibuster oblivion. Reminding progressives that they couldn’t pass even a limited amnesty in two years in the majority ain’t much of a peace offering from Democrats (although stay tuned for the far more suspenseful DADT vote). Katrina Trinko at the Corner says the DREAM is over:

“Democrats are expected to fail,” a senate GOP aide tells me, adding that without the Bush tax cut extension passed, all 42 GOP senators presumably remain bound to the pledge they made last week to block any other legislation. He adds that the seven Senate Democrats who have previously voted against the bill will “be in a tough place to support it,” considering how it has been argued by some to be an amnesty plan. “So the prospects are looking poor in the Senate,” he notes.

“I don’t see that there is any way that it can pass in the Senate,” agrees Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA. She points out that so far, only Sen. Bob Bennett (R., Utah) among Republicans has announced he will vote for the bill. Even Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Indiana), formerly an advocate of the measure, has not announced his vote. Jenks sees Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as the only GOP senators who may vote for the bill. “Even if all of them vote for it, there are still three Democrats — at least three Democrats — that will vote against it,” she remarks.

If you’re worried about McCain and Graham, don’t be. The latter reiterated a few days ago that the bill is dead and Maverick’s office told Michelle yesterday that he’s opposed to it. Among the problems with the legislation: It allows illegals who have committed up to two misdemeanors (and not just nonviolent ones) to qualify for legalization and, as Kaus explains, it would grant an automatic ten-year work permit to anyone who applies under the act — even if they lie on their application. Those, at least, are the micro objections; the macro objection, as you’ll see if you follow the link to Graham’s comments, is that this confounds the basic bargain of comprehensive immigration reform. The inchoate deal all along has been that there’ll be a path to citizenship for some illegals in exchange for securing the border first. Voting yes on DREAM thus necessarily means ceding leverage on border enforcement. That’s a bridge too far even for Grahamnesty, or at least it is with a primary challenge looming in 2014.

The vote’s set for 4 p.m. but who knows when it’ll come off. Here’s the C-SPAN2 livestream in case you’re not in front of a TV. Exit question: Assuming DREAM crashes and burns, can we expect an angry presser this evening from Luis “My only loyalty is to the immigrant community” Gutierrez? Remember, he vowed last week that DREAM’s failure would be the last straw, forcing him to fulfill his destiny as a hybrid of Gandhi, Jesus, and Luke Skywalker and lead a protest movement aimed at pressuring Democrats into being even bigger amnesty shills than they already are. Let the Tequila Party begin!

Update: Reid just said that they’re going to wait for the House to pass the DREAM Act this afternoon before taking it up in the Senate, so stay tuned for the exciting conclusion later today.