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Does the Gang of 8 Bill have the votes?

Does the Gang of 8 Bill have the votes?

Goal: Pass it at any cost?

The Senate is expected to consider the Gang of 8 immigration bill next week, but Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped author the bill, suddenly doesn’t think it has the votes to break a filibuster.  At least, that’s what he’s saying publicly.

From NBC News:

“No, and I think even the Democrats would concede that. There’s a few reasons for it, but one of the things we’ve learned over the last few weeks through the open process that happened through the committee process and all the public input that we’ve gotten is how little confidence people have that the federal government will enforce the law.”

Rubio even said on the Hugh Hewitt show on Tuesday that if amendments to strengthen the bill don’t pass, he would vote against his own bill.

But others on the Hill don’t see it that way, leaving many asking – why the strong statements from Rubio?

Senator Lindsay Graham of the Gang of Eight, doesn’t seem concerned.

From National Review, which has a good write-up on the situation:

“The bill’s gonna pass. The question is how many Republicans can we get. From my point of view, the goal’s half the conference. I think that’s very achievable,” Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters yesterday. […]

“If we’re not able to pass immigration reform in 2013 and it’s the Republican party’s fault, we’re done in 2016. So the idea that we can back away, and have no political consequences – to me, from an individual point of view, and from a party point of view, is fantasy,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was also confident, as was Chuck Schumer, also according to National Review.

“Look, the bottom line is very simple, and that is we welcome amendments that will improve the bill and broaden support for the bill, provided it doesn’t get at our core principles. And Marco Rubio is very aware of our core principles. I talk to him every day,” Senator Chuck Schumer said.

Some think Rubio may be trying to open up space for border security amendments that would allow the bill to pass. (Also from National Review):

One former Senate leadership aide, a Republican who is against the bill, said Rubio has made a practice of making such comments whenever the critics of the bill seem to be gaining momentum.

Rubio’s remarks about the need to improve the bill are like a “release valve” to reduce the pressure of mounting criticism, the source said.

Another theory is that Rubio is creating the “space” for border-security amendments, such as those from Texas senator John Cornyn, who might vote for the bill under the right circumstances.

It may have to do with a certain number of Senators who prefer the bill contain language supporting stricter border protections. (Also from National Review):

“There are 15 to 20 people who if it was tightened – and that’s the question of what defines ‘tightened,’ a tighter version of border security – that they would be supportive of the overall bill. But that they needed to see something more,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, who is strongly pushing the bill. Opponents of the bill put that number closer to ten senators. The names that come up in conversations about that group include Senators Mike Crapo, Orrin Hatch, James Risch, Jerry Moran, Pat Toomey, Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, Kelly Ayotte, Roger Wicker, and Thad Cochran. Rubio is said to be most concerned about Cornyn and Coburn’s support.

On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala wrote a letter to their fellow Congress members emphasizing the importance that border security considerations be strengthened as a prerequisite to creating a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants here illegally.

Rubio told the Hugh Hewitt show that one change they’ve focused on is giving Congress more authority over enforcement of border security, rather than leaving the issue up to Homeland Security.

From FOX News:

“People don’t want to just turn it over to the Homeland Security Department to come up with a plan,” Rubio said. “They want the plan to be laid out specifically with real measurables, and I think that’s a good approach and so we’re working with members now to do that.”

“If we can pass a measure that ensures that we will never again have another wave of illegal immigration, I believe we will have immigration reform. And if we do not pass that, if that does not happen, I believe there will not be immigration reform. It’s as simple as that.”

Indeed, Senator John Cornyn of Texas has proposed a tough border plan for the bill.

From Reuters:

The proposal from Senator John Cornyn of Texas, a skeptic of the bill that would grant legal status to some 11 million undocumented immigrants, would require the Department of Homeland Security to have surveillance over the entire U.S.-Mexico border and meet a benchmark of apprehending at least 90 percent of people trying to cross the border illegally.

Cornyn would tie achievement of the benchmarks to the plan to give permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants. Many immigrants’ rights groups oppose such provisions, saying they would erode the path to citizenship at the heart of the bill.

Cornyn’s amendment would also expand the use of biometric equipment to track foreigners leaving the country.

Of course, it’s largely Democrats that have the ability to pass the bill, with only a few votes needed from Republicans.  While they wanted about 70 or 75 votes in all, 60 is the magic number.

The Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the bill on Monday.


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I sure hope they do not have the votes.

“If we’re not able to pass immigration reform in 2013 and it’s the Republican party’s fault, we’re done in 2016.

Nonsense. Immigration is not a public priority. However, if you pass amnesty with GOP fingerprints all over it, then you’ll get shellacked. Hell, I’ll be working against you.

    raven in reply to Pablo. | June 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Graham is such a little sh*t. Think about what he said, and how it represents the opposite of inspiration and conviction: “If we don’t pass it, we’re done.” He embodies the fearful, insecure, hollow and bitter GOPe.

    By the way, Rubio is playing us. This belated tough talk is all damage control as he saw how badly his support was slipping among conservatives.

      Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to raven. | June 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      I want to know.

      Is Obama blackmailing them?

      What do they have in their closets???

    Observer in reply to Pablo. | June 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    If Republicans pass this POS bill, they won’t have to worry about 2016.

    They’ll be done as a party long before then.

    moonstone716 in reply to Pablo. | June 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Graham: If we don’t pass immigration reform, we’re done in 2016. Everyone else: If we pass immigration reform, the country becomes like California and we’re done for the foreseeable future.

    Who to believe? Or are we expected to just give up and fade away?

True immigration reform would be to uphold the laws already on the books.

If you are an illegal go to the rear of the line and wait patiently.

To the gang of eight – Secure our border positions and not your senate position.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Sally Paradise. | June 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm


    The *only* immigration reform I want to see is:

    1. An end to birthright citizenship

    2. An end to chain immigration

    3. Mandatory E-Verify and prosecution of businesses that hire illegals

    4. A cast iron border

    5. Making entering the country illegally a felony

    AND… Making our laws reciprocal with those of other countries i.e., have at least the same penalties!

Doug Wright | June 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

This proposed bill is like shooting your foot in order to kill that nasty ant crawling around by your foot!

Shouldn’t the real goal be to ensure that new employee hires are legal residents of this country, whether they are citizens, visitors with a work permit, or any other classification; and include all welfare recipients in this process too. Any one whose residency were not validated would have to go through a process to determine whether they could become legal residents or deported back to their home country.

If new employees, and welfare recipients, all had to be verified as to their status, then the illegal person crisis would be come greatly diminished and rapidly. If this were to be done, then actual border control would be much easier and and holes in border security would be caught over time and rectified when, and if, possible.

STFU, Grammy.

REPORT: Rubio wants out of Gang of Eight Quislings
…Hey, rubio – once you get the STENCH of TRAITOR on you from conspiring with chucky schumer and AMNESTY-JOHN McRINO, you can NEVER, EVER get rid of it.

“Cornyn would tie achievement of the benchmarks to the plan to give permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants.”

A: So stupid he actually thinks that by putting “tough provisional triggers” into the AMNESTY/WELFARE-FOR INVADERS bill the OBOZO regime would actually adhere to that legal requirement !!!!!!!!!!!

Last night, on On the Record:

Greta: What evidence do you have the the Obama Administration will enforce any of the border provisions in the Bill?

Rubio: Well, there is none, but he’s only going to be in office for another 3 1/2 years.


We have to pass the Bill so the next President can see what’s in it?!?

Juba Doobai! | June 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Rubio has proven himself a liar.

Henry Hawkins | June 5, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Won’t pass, with or without Cornyn’s new amendment, and would be dead on arrival in the House anyway. Whatever game Rubio was running with this, it didn’t go his way. He’s hoping the Cornyn amendment is a bridge too far for Senate Dems, that Schumer won’t cave. Rubio hopes to see the Dems kill the bill so it’s not his withdrawal of support that kills it.

It may be that Rubio isn’t yet ready for prime time regardless of where his political heart is located, whether RINO, moderate, or conservative. First bit of evidence he’s not ripe for the big leagues is the fact that his Gang of Eight participation has caused the GOP base to question the man’s raison d’etre for being a Rising Conservative Rock Star – his conservatism, with his Latino stat a big bonus, but secondary to his conservatism. People loved him for it before immigration reform but now question it. Nice work, Sparky. Second bit of evidence he ain’t ready is it appears he let Schumer maneuver him into a box, Rubio’s choice between burning his cred as a conservative or being blamed for killing his own immigration reform bill by walking away from it due to the bug of border security laxity he was selling as a feature just last week, which risks his cred among Latinos and other hypocrisy-averse people everywhere.

I suspect the Florida Wonder got de-pants-ed by veteran Dems on his first trek into the congressional swamp.

I like(d) Marco Rubio. I hope it turns out Rubio’s a guy who only goes squishy on a single issue, for personal reasons, immigration in his case, and that he remains as conservative on other issues as he’s presented himself to be. I hope this Gang of Eight episode is a preseason camp learning thing for him, to be taken as a sign the guy’s ready to jump in and fight, even if he may need more experience to expect success. He could win me back, but it’ll take at least flowers and some candy.

Senator Rubio… whether it’s with friend or foe, count your fingers and check your wallet after every handshake in DC.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm


Graham Is likely done in 2016 no matter which way this goes. He’s already PO’d both Fiscal Conservatives and SoCons. Not enough “undocumented” workers and their sympathizers to offset the unemployed that see this as a threat to them getting jobs.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to genes. | June 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Graham is up for election in 2014.

    There is a unique situation because there will also e the special election for the seat currently filled by Tim Scott.

    Hence Graham looks to be searching desperately for extra non GOP votes.

The Hill reported today that the White House is turning on Republicans as they look for a villian.

I’d say that the “Gang of Eight” bill is dead.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Neo. | June 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    The Hill believes the White House is just now turning on Republicans as they look for villains?

The Tea Party needs to get busy for a challenge to Graham in 2014. Almost any decent candidate could mount a successful challenge..

[…] that this naivete won’t be a problem for him running for president? Wow. As far as this goes, kill it. […]