Major developments occurred in the House and the Senate, when the digital ink was scarcely dry on our issue of yesterday(12/16/10). Briefly, the tax cut bill was passed by the House, sending it to the President for his signature. Over at the Senate, the pork-laden, almost 2,000 page omnibus bill was abandoned by about 9 Republican Senators thus dooming it. The fate of the lands/water bill is up in the air, and this bill, hundreds of pages long, may be dead for this Congress. There was even progress on judicial nominations, with the Senate confirming 4 judges by unanimous consent, proving that wonders will never cease! Apart from three judges who the Republicans have criticized for being too liberal, a couple of dozen additional confirmations are likely, also by unanimous consent. All this suddenly clears up floor time and sharply reduces the pending agenda which is now only 4 items at the Senate: ratification of START, DADT repeal, DREAM and the Continuing Resolution (only this last item would need a House vote). It appears that the Republicans will get their way on the Continuing Resolution, while the President usually gets support for something as important as a nuclear treaty with Russia (a procedural vote garnered 66 votes, just one shy of the votes needed for Treaty approval). That leaves DADT repeal and DREAM, cloture for both of which was filed for by Majority Leader Reid last night, and votes for both of which will occur early on Saturday, tomorrow. Only this last vote in the Senate now stands between the DREAM bill and its enactment, but we are far from assured of passage for this important pro-immigration legislation. We present below our best analysis of where the vote stands on the Senate floor. According to Daily Kos, http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/12/16/929590/
Reid-to-file-cloture-tonight-on-DREAM-Act-and-dont-ask,-dont-tell the votes of as many as nine Democratic Senators are still up for grabs: Nelson of Nebraska, Tester, Baucus, Hagan, Pryor, Conrad, Manchin, McCaskill and Landrieu. To the extent that the Democratic party wants to make a serious play for the immigrant vote, it should minimize the defections among this group of nine.
Three Republican Senators are clearly courting disaster if they vote NO: Brown, Ensign and Kirk – all three of which will likely face an uphill re-election ahead if they want to defy their states on a matter which will be remembered even when the dust has settled (they should be on notice that the army of DREAMers will not forget them, and Ensign in particular should be on notice that there now exists an “immigrant vote”, which will likely be decisive when he faces the people of Nevada again). Three more Republican Senators are also taking risks if they vote NO: Collins and Snowe (since Maine is not exactly Alabama), and Lemieux (who should know that non-Latino Republicans are likely to lose in a state-wide election in Florida unless they have a good immigration record). However, we believe that matters ultimately rest in the hands of Senators McCain and Kyl, both from a state where immigration is a critical issue, and both of whom have taken courageous past stands defying the racists within the Republican party on immigration, in order to do the right thing, both for their party and their country. Republicans should thank their lucky stars that Murkowski, Bennett and Lugar will likely vote YES, thus, to some extent, blunting the effect of this vote on the Republican party in elections to come. Both McCain and Kyl are statesmen, and that is exactly why they have taken risks in the past, and can do so again on DREAM, to bring their party with them in voting YES. The immigrant vote is no longer in the future, as the election last month showed, it already exists in the nation’s southwest. We urge Mr. McCain and Mr. Kyl to do the right thing for the Republican party and the right thing for the country and vote YES on DREAM.