Is The Senate Immigration Bill Doomed? Don’t Bet On It

If you believe some of the stories floating around, you’d think the Senate immigration bill was in real trouble. Here’s Reuters for example,

U.S. Senate Republicans on Tuesday accused Democrats of trying to rush a vote on immigration reform, casting doubt on the fate of the White House-backed bill that would tighten border security and legalize millions of illegal immigrants.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wanted to close debate on the bill by this week’s end despite Republicans’ objections, which could doom the fragile compromise legislation that backers say would help fix a broken immigration system through which millions of illegal immigrants have slipped into the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said his fellow Republicans had a number of amendments they wanted considered before voting on the bill.

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But Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said Republicans were stalling.

“What we have heard today are buzzwords for ‘this bill is going nowhere,'” Reid said in a Senate floor exchange with McConnell.

Reid said he planned to set a Senate vote for Thursday on his motion to limit debate, and it was unclear with Republican objections that it would garner the 60 votes needed in the 100-member chamber to advance the bill toward passage.

Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican who helped broker the bill, said cutting off debate “would be a big mistake” that could “risk the bill not passing at all.”

So, is the bill in real trouble? That’s hard to say for sure, but given that Harry Reid is the one making a move here, not the Republicans who have been ruthlessly savaged by their constituents, this is probably just a negotiating tactic.

After all, Bush will sign absolutely anything that’s put in front of him and bizarrely, despite the horrible beating the GOP is taking right now and the fact that another absolutely nightmarish election year performance in 2008 will be virtually guaranteed if this bill becomes law, there aren’t any Republican senators who seem to be signaling that they intend to change their minds. As a matter of fact, Kate O’Beirne’s sources in the Senate are predicting this bill will pass with between 60 and 70 votes in the Senate. You also have to consider that if a bill were to pass the House, the Democrats could probably manage to strip any provisions out of the bill that they have a real problem with in committee. So, in other words, the Democrats have every reason to push this bill through because they will get everything they want and in return, the GOP will commit political suicide in 2008.

That means Harry Reid is probably just putting the squeeze on Mitch McConnell because he can. Reid knows McConnell supports the bill and that he doesn’t want to stretch this horror show out any longer than he has to, so why shouldn’t Reid force McConnell to march to his tune? I mean, if the bill were delayed for a few weeks, all it would mean is that Republican senators would continue to be savaged for the length of that period and then they’d sign their devil’s bargain when it was over any way.

Maybe that’s not what’s really happening and this is the start of the immigration collapse, but from where I’m sitting, it still looks like the GOP would rather lose the Presidency and another 5 or 6 Senate seats in 2008 than give up on this bill. That’s incredibly foolish, but, well, let’s just leave it at that…incredibly foolish.

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