The DREAM Act is scheduled to come to a vote in the Senate this Wednesday, if all goes according to plan, and though the consensus is that defeat is far more likely than passage, it’s still too early to call it. Last week sponsor Dick Durbin released a new, scaled back version of the bill, and it’s possible that his changes will bring some new votes on board.
In my last vote count post, I said that there were forty-seven senators definitely in favor of the DREAM Act, and another thirty-seven definitely against it. One of those thirty-seven, Kay Bailey Hutchison, is still regarded as a possible “get” by some activists, but she reiterated her opposition to the bill over the weekend. She won’t be voting yes. On the other side of the column, Republican Richard Lugar’s staff is now saying that he has to review the most recent changes before committing to supporting the bill.
That leaves seventeen votes at least theoretically in play, and the DREAMers need to pick up fourteen of them to win.
Lets take a look at those seventeen…
I listed three senators as almost certainly against the bill in my last post, and one of those three — John McCain — has since come out formally against it. I’ll remove him from the next update. Neither Max Baucus nor George Voinovich has made any new statement.
Last time around I considered Kent Conrad (D), Byron Dorgan (D), Kay Hagan (D), Joe Manchin (D), Olympia Snowe (R), and John Tester (D) likely against. Dorgan (“still undecided”) and Manchin (“reviewing the legislation”) made non-committal statements in an article published Friday, while Tester’s spokesman told The Hill that he’s “inclined to oppose the bill” as he has in the past.
I described Sam Brownback (R), Susan Collins (R), Chris Coons (D), Mary Landrieu (D), and Lisa Murkowski (R) as unknowns. None have since made a public statement, but since there’s really no reason to doubt that Chris Coons will vote yes, I’ll bump him up.
Coons and fellow Dems Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb are now in my “likely yes” category. I’ll put Richard Lugar here too, until we hear more.
So that’s it. Of the sixteen left on the list, nine seem to be leaning, weakly or strongly, against the bill, which means that supporters need to hold all the neutrals and positives while flipping six of the negatives to turn the DREAM Act into law.
December 7, noon | A named White House source told reporters this morning that the WH believes they will need seven Republican votes to get the DREAM Act through the Senate. The good news? This suggests that they are confident that Democrats McCaskill, Webb, Coons, Landrieu, and Manchin, as well as three of Conrad, Dorgan, Hagan, Tester, and Baucus, are willing to vote yes. The bad news? I can only come up with six plausible Republican “gets” — Bennett, Lugar, Murkowski, Brownback, Snowe, and Collins.
12:10 | One note on the above — we shouldn’t assume that because the White House thinks they can count on the above Dems, that means they’ll all vote yes when the time comes. There are undoubtedly some senators who are willing to vote yes if needed, but would prefer not to if they don’t have to. Someone like Manchin, in other words, might well be willing to be the 60th yes vote, but not the 57th.