Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: $38 billion fails to buy 70 votes for amnesty

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Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Immigration,Senate,Analysis,Bob Corker

Supporters of citizenship-for-illegal-immigrants failed to reach the 70-vote threshold they had set for themselves last night, after just 67 senators voted in favor of ending debate on the $38 billion Corker-Hoeven amendment to the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill.

Pro-amnesty Republicans had hoped that the last-minute, behind-closed-doors Corker-Hoeven deal would provide enough political cover for more members of their caucus to vote with Democrats, but in the end just 15 Republicans voted with 42 Democrats on the cloture motion.

Weather only delays the inevitable
Six senators did miss the vote entirely last night due to weather related travel delays, but it is unlikely they could have made any difference. Dems. Sherrod Brown, Ohio, and Mark Udall, Colo., would have been easy ‘yes’ votes for the motion, but Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has been an outspoken critic of amnesty and Sens. Saxby Chambliss, Ga., and Johnny Isakson, Ga., released a joint statement last night saying they would have voted against the motion had they made it to Washington on time. That leaves Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., as a possible 70th vote for amnesty. But even if Enzi is a ‘yes’, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who voted for the motion last night, announced that he would be a ‘no’ on final passage.

$38 billion down the drain
Outside of the amendment’s sponsors, Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., it is unclear how many Republican votes the Corker-Hoeven amendment even secured. The four Republican members of the Gang of Eight were never in doubt and Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, all announced their support for Schumer-Rubio before Corker-Hoeven was even introduced. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, voted for Schumer-Rubio in committee after a guest-worker amendment of his was accepted by the Gang of Eight, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R, has always been pro-amnesty making his appointee, Sen. Jeff Chisea, R-N.J., a sure yes vote as well.

And since Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, can always be bought off cheaply, that leaves just Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., as the amendment’s only real pickups. So far the price of $38 billion, pro-amnesty Republicans really only added four new members to their ranks (Alexander, Corker, Heller, and Hoeven). That’s almost $10 billion a vote.

The Senate is done with immigration, on to the House
And there is little chance any more Republican votes will be added. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has structured the debate so that no more amendments will even be considered. A final vote on the Corker-Hoeven amendment will take place Thursday, and a final vote on Schumer-Rubio will take place shortly after.

Then it is on to the House, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has promised regular order and the House Judiciary Committee hasn’t begun writing legislation yet. If pro-amnesty Republicans were looking to create pressure on their House colleagues with a 70-vote margin, they have clearly failed.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Immigration bill: Not a political game changer for GOP
David Drucker: Chambliss, Issakson buck expectations, oppose immigration bill
Conn Carroll: The Corker-Hoeven visa overstay loophole
Phil Klein: CBO on the ‘uncertainty’ of its own immigration estimates
Susan Ferrechio: Darrell Issa subpoenas four State Department officials for Benghazi information
Brian Hughes: U.S. following all ‘legal channels’ to catch Edward Snowden
Ashe Schow: Five signs Obama is losing control
Sean Higgins: Supreme Court to hear case on union/management collusion
Tim Carney: Presidents deserve a vote on their nominees; Senators deserve to vote on nominees

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