Thursday Update | All bets are off … for now. The Democrats have introduced a new version of the bill in an effort to bring wavering senators on board, while Republicans are pledging to block all legislation in the Senate until a vote is held on the extension of the Bush tax cuts. We’ll know a lot more by the weekend, maybe sooner. Check this post for updates.
Original Post | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on Tuesday that he would be “filing cloture” for the DREAM Act, the first step to bringing it to the floor. It now appears that action on the bill could come as early as this week.
The DREAM Act would give undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children a path to citizenship through college enrollment or military service. It’s expected to pass the House of Representatives easily, but in the Senate it needs a super-majority of sixty senators to end debate and allow an up-or-down vote to be held.
Thirty-five Democratic senators have signed on as sponsors of the DREAM Act, and another ten Democrats are understood to be reliable votes for its passage. On the other side, twenty-nine Republicans have long been known to be rock-solid in opposition. That leaves twenty-six senators who are at least theoretically up for grabs, and proponents of the bill need fifteen of those twenty-six to vote yes.
Last Friday I ran down the list of those twenty-six, sussing out where I thought each one stood. Some new info has emerged since then, so I’ve updated the count accordingly. To see my original rationale for each senator’s placement on the list, check out the original Friday post.
On Friday I listed Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Judd Gregg (R-NH), George LeMieux (R-FL), and Ben Nelson (R-NE) as firmly in the “no” column. Based on a Tuesday stories from Politico and Bloomberg I can add Scott Brown (R-MA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) to that list.
Almost Certainly Against (3):
On Friday this category included Max Baucus (D-MT) and John McCain (R-AZ), along with as well as Brown, Hatch, Hutchison, and Pryor. Senator McCain again indicated today that he’s a likely “no” vote, but stopped short of a formal announcement. I’m moving George Voinovich (R-OH) here on the basis of today’s Bloomberg story — it described him as planning to vote no, as two bloggers had last week.
Likely Against (6):
Kent Conrad (D-ND), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John Tester (D-MT). No change from Friday.
Sam Brownback (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
My hunch is that Coons and Landrieu both belong in the “likely for” category, by the way, but I don’t have anything solid to base that on, so I’m leaving them here for now.
Likely For (2):
Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jim Webb (D-VA).
Richard Lugar (R-IN), Robert Bennett (R-UT).
All the movement on the chart since Friday has been away from the DREAM Act, and unless I’m wrong about someone in the “against” or “almost certainly against” category, the bill now needs the support of every other wavering senator to get to sixty votes.
It’s not over, but it’s not looking good, either.