24 REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMOCRATS TO RESURRECT BUSH'S AMNESTY BILL
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
In a move certain to anger conservatives and moderates, the US Senate voted Tuesday to push forward a bill -- S.1639 -- that would legalize millions of illegal aliens including those with criminal records.
The push for this deceptive legislation -- which is wholeheartedly supported by President George W. Bush -- appeared to be stalled earlier this month, but was sustained by liberal-left politicians and activists with the help of some so-called conservatives such as Senator John McCain of Arizona who's deeply involved in a presidential run.
While earlier in the month the bill appeared to be all but dead in the water, a compromise was reached between Democrats and Republicans after the bill was pulled following a failed cloture vote on June 7 and breathed new life into the effort.
During the debate, the bill's proponents were 15 votes short of ending the debate. Several Republican proponents of the legislation withheld their support, demanding that more time be granted to consider the measure. It was a different story today, when 64 senators, including many Republicans, supported the bill.
"These Republicans wanted to pretend they were conservatives and that they were opposed to amnesty, when in fact they were inclined to vote for a bill that would make the United States less safe for citizens," claims political consultant Mike Baker.
While conservatives and many moderates oppose amnesty, President Bush appeared optimistic about its passage by week's end, especially after meeting with Republican Senators.
The GOP lawmakers who are for the amnesty have been attempting to sound conservative while at the same time supporting illegal aliens. Supporters of the amnesty bill needed 60 votes to scale procedural hurdles and return to the bill. The Senate's vote exceeds that number by four votes thanks to Republicans. See Senate Cloture Vote on Immigration Reform.
A similar vote earlier in June showed a mere 45 supporters, with only seven of them Republicans. This time, 24 Republicans joined 39 Democrats and independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, to back moving ahead with the bill. Opposing the move were 25 Republicans, nine Democrats and independent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., an architect of the bill, in a press release said he was proud of the vote, calling it "a major step forward for our national security, for our economy, and for our humanity.''
"We did the right thing today because we know the American people sent us here to act on our most urgent problems. We know they will not stand for small political factions getting in the way,'' Kennedy said his statement following the vote.
However, not one poll shows support of the American people for this de-facto amnesty bill. In fact, several polls have been suppressed by the mainstream news media because they show such a high percentage of Americans oppose the amnesty bill.
Tuesday's vote was far from conclusive, however. The Senate bill must overcome another make-or-break vote as early as Thursday that will also require the backing of at least 60 senators. Amnesty opponents believe they will be successful in swaying some GOP senators causing another retreat by GOP lawmakers fearful of losing the support of their voting base.
Republicans and Democrats alike are deeply conflicted over the measure, which also creates a temporary worker program, pretends to strengthen border security and institutes a system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces, although the current law hasn't been enforced.
"This bill isn't going to please a majority of law enforcement officers who are finding themselves swamped with additional criminals coming into the US illegally," said former NYPD detective and Marine Sidney Francis.
"It's getting harder and harder to find real conservatives within the Republican Party. The GOP is no longer the 'law and order' political party," added Det. Francis.
President Bush has initiated a powerful effort to decrease Republican opposition to the bill, appearing at a Senate GOP luncheon in June and dispatching two of his Cabinet secretaries to take up near-constant residence on Capitol Hill to push the compromise.
President Bush labeled the measure "a deal worthy of support."
"In a good piece of legislation like this, and a difficult piece of legislation like this, one side doesn't get everything they want,'' he told business leaders and representatives of religious, Hispanic and agricultural communities earlier Tuesday. "It's a careful compromise.''
Tuesday's vote strongly suggests that key senators and White House officials have succeeded in bargaining with skeptical lawmakers for a second chance to pass the bill. After weeks in which the legislation survived crushing blows, it remained viable due disagreements within the GOP.
However, opponents of the Senate bill are already beginning their strategy to put pressure on members of the US House of Representatives. As senators were preparing for the showdown vote Tuesday morning, House Republicans meeting privately on the other side of the Capitol were plotting to register their opposition through a party resolution.
"It's clear there's a large number of the House Republicans who have serious concerns with the Senate bill,'' said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the minority leader.
a bipartisan amendment is being sponsored by Sens. Charles Grassley,
R-Iowa, Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., that would
change the bill's new program for weeding out illegal employees from
US workplaces. In other words, there's no protection against killers
and rapists entering the US.
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Tuesday's vote strongly suggests that key senators and White House officials have succeeded in bargaining with skeptical lawmakers for a second chance to pass the bill.