Friday, April 07, 2006

Immigration Bill fails in Senate

I'm getting a bit tired of talking immigration all the time. So it is with some glee that I note that the Senate couldn't find a way to continue to a vote on ANY of the three immigration bills that are currently floating around.

The first was the original bill from the Judiciary Committee, a horrid bill that needs to die a slow and painful death, and likely has seen its last breath. This was the bill that couldn't get a cloture vote a couple of days ago, and was seen as a dead end.

The second was a "compromise" bill pushed by the democrats with several republicans including Senator Mel Martinez and our favorite compromiser, John McCain, who once again seems to have gotten too close and is trapped in the gravitational pull of Ted Kennedy.

This was the bill that everybody was doing back-flips over yesterday. Except for a minor problem. The republicans were happy because they knew they could pass amendments to make this compromise palatable; the democrats were happy because they could vote for the bill as-is and later blame republicans for it.

So the Democrats refused to allow a vote on any amendment. Over two days they debated whether an amendment could be in order. Reid argued that it was simply a "filibuster by amendment", but the republicans had offered a 1-hour limit for debate, and frankly they could have finished 20 or so amendments in the time it took them to argue over whether there was time to do amendments.

Without the right to even speak to an amendment, the republicans weren't about to allow an end to the debate. Cloture failed miserably -- you need 60 votes to stop debate, and the proponents only got 38 votes. 5 democrats joined the republicans, making this a bipartisan call for allowing the amendment process to go on. The democrats tried to blame the republicans for this, but nobody is smoking what they are offering.

The third bill exposes the democrat's true nature. Frist took the border security portion of the Senate judiciary committee bill, the one all the democrats said was a perfect bill, and offered it. No republican was against this part of the bill, and it was part of a bill all the democrats supported, so we should have had a 100-0 vote.

Instead, every democrat voted AGAINST securing our borders. So did quite a few republicans -- this bill failed as miserably as the other two bills.

This is a mixed blessing. We are lucky to have been saved from the senate immigration bill -- I'll be writing about that bill next week so I won't talk too much more about it here.

But we failed to do anything to defend our borders, or to stop the wave of illegal immigration. We need to put an end to it, because we are fast losing our majority in our own country.

Bush is squarely in the middle on this one. He says he's against amnesty, but supported the senate bill. He wants to secure the borders but didn't push for Frist's bill. He supports a temporary worker program, which is probably a good thing, but hasn't done a good job of explaining it, or explaining how it differs from the senate's pay 200 and get out of jail bill.

The house bill had some bad stuff in it, which I will discuss another day. But I am counting on the house to protect us from the senate -- it's supposed to be the other way around, isn't it?

No comments: