DREAM Act cloture fails, 55-41

Another day, another waste of time by desperate Democrats in the lame-duck session:

Senate Republicans have blocked a bill to grant hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children a chance to gain legal status if they enroll in college or join the military.

Sponsors of what they call the Dream Act needed 60 Senate votes for it, but fell five short. The House passed the bill last week. It was a last-ditch effort to enact it before it Republicans take control of the House from Democrats in January.

Daniel Foster at NRO did the head count:

Among Republicans, only Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah, Richard Lugar of Indiana, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted for the bill.

On the Democat side, Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Max Baucus of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pyror of Arkansas, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted against the bill.

In an update, Foster notes that Joe Manchin of West Virginia also opposed cloture.  Like Lugar, Manchin has to stand for re-election in 2012.  It will be interesting to see Lugar attempt to defend this vote in a primary fight in a little over a year, a fight he’s probably guaranteed himself today.  Even if one thought that the act had some merit, why would Lugar vote to pass it in a lame-duck session — especially since the budget has yet to be addressed, as well as the START treaty that he has hinted at supporting?

The other Democrats opposing the bill aren’t much of a surprise, except perhaps Kay Hagan in North Carolina.  Looks like she’s hearing footsteps, too, even though she’s not up for her second election until 2014.

It’s yet another miscalculation by Reid in a rapidly-closing window of opportunity.  If he didn’t have six of his own caucus in hand, why press the matter at all?  Reid raised expectations and then dashed them, a bad strategy in politics.   Thankfully, it’s also another denial of a significant imposition of policy by a Congress that voters rejected six weeks ago.

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