Thursday, June 07, 2007


Menendez amendment fails, Kyl amendment passes
Hillary and Obama make appearances
Lindsay Graham has a hissy fit; Inhofe's English declaration passes
Clinton, Obama fail; Dorgan sunset passes

Update: 12:40am Senate adjourned until 10am...Reid has called for a vote later today on a motion to limit debate to 30 additional hours...It's the "moment of truth" now...Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been an eloquent and stalwart amnesty opponent, says tonight: "I think enthusiasm is waning for the legislation..."

Chicago Tribune says Dorgan amendment "may have critically jeopardized the measure as it enters final days of consideration." More from Sen. Sessions:

Supporters of the bill claimed victory not only over the temporary worker program, but over the bill's entire process.

"No one has the right to meet in secret with special-interest groups and write a bill and ram it down the throats of the United States Senate," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a critic of the bill who voted to kill the guest worker program. "I hope today people begin to see that a small group of senators … don't have the power to say we can't have an amendment and we can't change it."

Update: 12:20am 6/7...Scroll for amendment updates...not on the Senate page yet, but hearing that the Dorgan amendment to sunset the Y visa program after 5 years, SA 1316 passed's the roll...


The Dorgan amendment had failed by one vote two weeks ago. Six senators changed their votes and one senator who hadn't voted sided with the yeas. Here are the vote-switchers:

Switched from nay to yea:

R - Bunning, DeMint, Dole, Enzi
D - Menendez

Switched from yea to nay:
R - Grassley

Switched from no vote to yea:

AP reports on the vote as a potential deal-breaker:

Shortly after midnight, the Senate voted 49-48 to end a new temporary worker program after five years. The vote reversed the one-vote outcome on the same amendment — offered both times by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. — two weeks ago. Six senators switched their votes, reflecting the issue's political volatility.

The temporary worker program is crucial to many business groups, and the bill's backers vowed to try on Thursday to undo the damage. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he or his allies would slightly reword Dorgan's amendment and hope for a change of heart by one or more senators who "don't want to kill the bill."

Dorgan, who contends that immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill, said no one in the debate "is talking about the impact on American workers."

"There are a lot of people here who want jobs and can't find jobs, and find downward pressure on their incomes," Dorgan said.

Allah mulls it over: Is this the killer amendment?

Update: Here's more on Lindsay Graham's embarrassing hissy fit against Barack Obama and on behalf of John McCain, which continued off the Senate floor...

Update: The White House thinks we are all idiots. Message to White House: Look in the mirror. Conservatives not amused.

Update: Latest AP coverage--"Immigration deal survives Senate threat...A proposed immigration overhaul narrowly survived strong Senate challenges Wednesday, boosting its backers' hopes that the fiercely debated legislation might soon win passage and advance to the House..."

Picking up from my liveblogging earlier today, debate on S.1348, the shamnesty bill, resumed tonight on the Senate floor at 6:45pm. Numbers USA previewed tonight's action:

* The main thrust of Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) SA 1250 is that information provided illegal alien applicants for amnesty, as provided for by the compromise proposal, could be shared with intelligence and law enforcement officials at all levels, thus encouraging real enforcement of our immigration laws.

* Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is offering SA 1331, which would prohibit any provision of this bill from impacting the Internal Revenue Code's treatment of illegal aliens' eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

* On the flip side, Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-Ala.) SA 1234 would prohibit guestworkers imported pursuant to this bill and illegal aliens granted amnesty under this measure from claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit unless their status is adjusted to lawful permanent resident.

* A proposal considered a "deal breaker" by some of the bill's Republican proponents – notably, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the lead Republican in the "compromise" negotiations (see below) – SA 1194, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would add 110,000 green cards a year for adult children and sibling backlog reduction and revise the cut-off date for reducing the “backlog” of family-sponsored immigration applicants from May 1, 2005, to January 1, 2007 (i.e., the same date by which illegal aliens must have been unlawfully present in the United States in order to receive amnesty under this bill). Sen. Kyl is offering a counterproposal to the Menendez amendment, SA 1460, but text of that amendment is not yet available for review.

* Finally, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is proposing SA 1191, which would make it more attractive to aliens seeking to game our already broken immigration apparatus by encouraging refugee and asylum fraud.

The Menendez amendment, 1194, failed, 53-44. It would have changed the cut-off date for reducing the “backlog” of family-sponsored immigration applicants from May 1, 2005, to January 1, 2007, the same date by which illegal aliens must have been unlawfully present in the United States in order to receive amnesty under this bill. Would have added 110,000 green cards a year for adult children and sibling backlog reduction.

Cornyn's SA 1250 passes, 57-39. It bars illegal aliens seeking amnesty under S1348 from submitting “sworn affidavits from nonrelatives” as proof of unlawful work or unlawful presence in the United States. Eliminates provisions protecting the confidentiality of the information contained in amnesty applications and, instead, requires the sharing of application-related information upon the request of a law enforcement agency, intelligence, or national security agency, or DHS component when requested in connection with a duly-authorized investigation of a civil violation.

Sessions SA 1234 passed 56-41: Prohibits foreign workers imported through this bill’s new Y “guestworker” program and illegal aliens granted “probationary status” (i.e., amnesty) from claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit unless their status is adjusted to lawful permanent resident.

Reid SA 1331 passed 57-40: Prohibits any provision of this bill from having an impact on the Internal Revenue Code's treatment of illegal aliens' eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Bingaman SA 1267 (for himself and Sen. Obama) failed 41-57. Would have removed the requirement that Y "temporary" nonimmigrant workers (as provided for in the underlying legislation) leave the United States before they renew their visas – not by modifying the length of their authorized stay (i.e., up to six years), but by mandating that they be given visas that expire after two years and that are renewable twice.

8:24pm Eastern. At this moment, the Senate is voting an amendment by Kyl. There's no text available, but it is SA 1460--a "side-by-side" amendment with SA 1194 (Menendez) that addresses concerns related to the family-sponsored immigration backlog.

The vote: Kyl amendment is approved.

Yea - 51
Nay - 45

Next up: SA 1182, the Thomas amendment. Supports the Shadow Wolves program for border tracking and apprehension. Passes without debate.

Now: SA 1272, Schumer amendment. Passes without debate. No text available.

8:32pm Eastern. SA 1183. Hillary Clinton on the floor. Her amendment would reclassify the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents as immediate relatives. "It is our view that we must make reuniting families a priority of our immigration system...reform immigration to bring families together...This amendment is not considered a bill-killer...I hope this chamber would endorse this act of compassion and common-sense..."

Specter: Effect of the Clinton amendment would be for current green-cardholders to bring in a potential of 800,000 spouses and minor children. In addition, after 8 years of backlog-clearing under the current proposal, the 12 million illegal aliens on a path to citizenship would then be able to bring in all their minor children and spouses.

Kyl notes that Clinton amendment would obliterate the right between a citizen and LPR to bring over spouses and minor children.

Time up for Hillary. Discussion of Inhofe and Salazar amendments on English language, Vitter on exit tracking.

9:25pm Eastern
. Obama takes his turn to attack the merit-based point system. Proposes SA 1202 to sunset the point system after 5 years instead of 14 years as written in S1348. "We're not proposing to strike the system from the bill...but should be reexamined..."

9:34pm Eastern. Ugh. Lindsay "You are all bigots" Graham is on the floor. He is all worked up about Obama's amendment. The camera can't keep up with his gesticulating. "Bipartisanship is music to the American people's ears...some of us have been beat up...thank you to my friend, Sen. McCain...what a sweet idea it is to give people a second chance in life...when they say why can't you work together, this is it!!!"

What the hell?

Obama assails Graham's histrionics. I have to agree. NumbersUSA points out: "The timeline for granting permanent resident status to illegal aliens granted amnesty – be it in five years or in 13 years – is of little consequence considering they have already been given what they came here to obtain: jobs and legal status."

9:40pm Eastern. Sen. Hutchinson squeezes in a few last words about her amendment 1415. Sen. Inhofe pitches his English language amendment 1151.

9:47pm Eastern. Kennedy opposes amendments by Ensign and Vitter.

12:20am updates...

Obama amendment 1202 to sunset point-system rejected.

Vitter amendment 1339 to require exit system in place before guest worker programs triggered rejected.

Inhofe amendment to require English as official language passes. Salazar amendment 1384 on English also passes.

Ensign amendment 1374 to improve point-system rejected.

Clinton amendment rejected.


June 6- Who voted against the Cornyn amendment? Which Repubs voted for the Kennedy amendment?
June 6- Shamnesty on the Senate floor, Day 2; Sen. Sessions knocks sense into the Dems; Specter sides with Kennedy; 12:25pm Kennedy amendment passes; 12:37pm Cornyn amendment fails
June 5 - Shamnesty on the Senate floor; Allard amendment rejected; Durbin amendment passes; Reid, McConnell spar on amendment limits; Reid--"We're going to file cloture on this bill today"; Hutchison, Cornyn call out Dems stalling

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