Senate sets votes to advance immigration reform

If the budget point of order is waived, then the Senate will vote on the border enforcement amendment. The Senate will also vote on whether to end debate on the underlying bill.

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On Monday, the Senate voted 67-27 to end debate on a border security amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. That vote gave the bill a large boost with support from 15 Republicans.

The amendment included “border surge” language from Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

In the underlying bill an e-verify system and entry-exit system at air and sea ports must be in place before anyone is given a green card. The amendment from Hoeven and Corker would also make require construction of 700 miles of Southern border fencing, the purchase of more than $3 billion in new technology for border security, and the hiring of 20,000 more border patrol agents mandatory before green cards are issued.

Those increased border security measures come with a price tag of $46 billion over 10 years, but supporters point out that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) still estimated a net gain for taxpayers.

Vitter said proponents of the bill have tried to offset their spending by taking money from the Social Security Trust Fund.

CBO has said in the first 10 years, the bill will generate $197 billion and in the decade after that nearly another $700 billion, but Republicans critics of the measure say those gains are to the Social Security Trust Fund and shouldn’t be used to pay for other projects since the money will have to be returned to the trust fund at some point.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) want the Senate to complete work on the legislation before the July 4th recess.