Looks like the bill failed:
A broad immigration bill to legalize millions of people unlawfully in the United States failed a crucial test vote in the Senate Thursday, a stunning setback that could spell its defeat for the year.
The vote was 45-50 against limiting debate on the bill, 15 short of the 60 that the bill’s supporters needed to prevail. Most Republicans voted to block Democrats’ efforts to bring the bill to a final vote.
The legislation, which had been endorsed by President Bush, would tighten borders, institute a new system to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers and give as many as 12 million illegal immigrants a pathway to legal status.
Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who had made no secret of his distaste for parts of the bill, said he would withdraw it but keep working toward eventual passage
My reaction mirrors that of Senator Brownback:
As you are probably aware by now, the Senate held a critical cloture vote on the immigration bill today, which did not pass. Senator Brownback voted against this cloture motion. In a highly unusual maneuver, Senator Reid invoked a highly unusual Senatorial procedural tactic and moved for a reconsideration of the original cloture motion outside the regularly scheduled order of business. Senator Brownback was not able to be present for this vote, but since cloture votes require 60 “yea” votes regardless of the number of “nays,” his absence counted effectively as a “nay.” Had Senator Brownback been present, he would have voted “nay” again.
“Highly unusual,” however, has accurately described the entire process by which this bill has been brought through the Senate. The drafting of the bill was conducted in secret, and completely bypassed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The amendment process has similarly been a nightmare – with the Democrats ostensibly blocking amendments in the name of “keeping the compromise together,” but then offering their own which were clearly unpalatable to the Republican allies of the bill. For instance, the Dorgan Amendment that passed last night sunset the temporary guest worker provision after five years, thus entirely eliminating the “comprehensive” aspect of the bill and virtually guaranteeing that many of the current circumstances giving rise to illegal immigration would arise again in half a decade. This amendment was the final straw for Senator Brownback and many of the Republican sponsors who had been attempting to craft a defensible immigration bill.
As Senator Brownback said during the debate Tuesday night, any acceptable immigration bill had to do three things: (1) Secure the border, and (2) effectively provide for interior enforcement through a verifiable employer verification program, and (3) comprehensively address the illegal immigration program by providing for a workable and safe temporary guest worker program. The Dorgan Amendment turned the Immigration Bill into an ineffective non-solution.
The bill from the beginning has always represented a very tenuous compromise, and the existence of a continued compromise is more tenuous after today. The bill changes every day, and if the amendment process resumes, Senator Brownback is hopeful that the bill can be amended into a workable solution which he can support. Senator Brownback will support an immigration bill only if it addresses the three points listed above. He will not support any bill that provides Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants, and supports the fact that the bill as amended does not provide Social Security credits earned while performing work as an illegal immigrant. Senator Brownback remains committed also to securing our border with a fence, which he voted for in the 109th Congress, and which he hopes can go forwards regardless of the final resolution of the current Senate bill.
The moral of the story is, never trust a Democrat. A Democrat would just as soon stab you in the back with a rusty fork as look at you, which is what happened with this bill. The whole thing was a sham to divide the Republican caucus when they needed unity most. It succeeded, admirably. The Democrats have always excelled at betrayal.
Well, they’ll get their comeuppance yet. Millions of Hispanic voters will little appreciate being shuffled around as pawns in the Democrat game. We can have border security, political security, AND party unity now, thanks to the Democrats being a little too clever for their own good. And the will of God, which makes all things possible.