Players of the Week: Senate GOP leaders

Will the Senate immigration bill attract 70 or more votes?

 That question has been analyzed from many angles in recent weeks.

 Most, if not all, of the 54 senators who caucus with the Democrats are expected to vote “yes.” To get to 70, at least 16 of 46 Senate Republicans would also have to approve the Gang of Eight’s bill.

 Seventy votes would be viewed as evidence of overwhelming bipartisan support that would put heavy pressure on the GOP-led House to take comprehensive action.

 Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), no fan of the Senate legislation, plans on moving smaller immigration bills later this summer. But Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) believes Boehner will feel the heat after the Senate acts. 

 In a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Schumer said, “I could envision in the late summer or early fall if Boehner tries to bottle the bill up or put something in without a path to citizenship — if there’s no path to citizenship, there’s not a bill — but if he tries to bottle it up or do things like that, I could see a million people on the Mall in Washington.”

 About a dozen Senate Republicans will vote “yes” or are likely to vote “yes,” and roughly 19 are expected to vote “no.”

 That leaves 15 GOP senators on the fence, including Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), John Thune (S.D.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.). 

 A few of these lawmakers, such as Burr, Alexander and Chambliss, voted “no” on immigration reform bills in both 2006 and 2007.

 But immigration legislation has momentum. The border security amendment crafted by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) has given it new life. But to get to 70, at least a handful of the undecided GOP senators are going to have to get off the fence and vote for it.