By a vote of 64-35, the Senate has invoked cloture on the immigration reform legislation. 60 votes were needed.
This vote means that the legislation will be brought back to the Senate floor. There will be another cloture vote later in the week after a series of amendments have been voted on. If there are sixty votes for cloture at that stage, then the Senate surely will pass the legislation because passage requires only a simple majority.
UPDATE: Among the Repubicans voting for cloture were Sam Brownback, John Ensign, and Norm Coleman. If Brownback repeats this vote later in the week, he can probably kiss his presidential aspirations good-bye (I mean his future presidential aspirations — he has no shot this year). Ensign is head of the Senate campaign committee. If he repeats his pro-cloture vote, he will have done a real disservice to the cause of raising money to elect, and electing, Republican Senators in 2008. I’ll leave it to my Minnesota colleagues to discuss the implications of Coleman’s vote.
On the plus side, Senator Hatch voted against cloture. As I understand it, Hatch has generally been “pro-immigration” and cannot be considered a hard-liner against immigration reform. I view his vote as additional evidence of how bad this particular legislation is.
SCOTT adds: Norm Coleman’s ultimate position is a mystery. He gives himself one too many options to vote against the bill in this press release. He seems to think that he can wait until the necessary motion to waive the budget act with respect to the immigration bill, which also requires 60 votes, to vote “no” after the second cloture vote. I hope he hears from enough of us to understand that his “no” vote is needed on the second cloture vote.
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