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Schumer 'happy' with Senate GOP support on immigration as vote nears

Immigration reform backers have won enough support in the Senate to put pressure on the House to act, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday. 

While Schumer acknowledged supporters won't win 70 votes, he said he's satisfied the bill will come out of the Senate with a strong vote. 

"We're very happy," Schumer said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

"We wanted to get a significant number of Republicans to vote for the bill … And what does that mean? It means that when the bill goes to the House, there's going to be pressure on them to do something. So we're feeling pretty good about how we did."

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While 70 votes had become a target, Schumer said "to get two-thirds is pretty good."

"Seventy was our goal, our aspiration, our dream," Schumer said.

The Senate could give final approval to immigration reform as early as today or as late as Friday afternoon. 

It's by no means clear that the bill will get a vote in the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told colleagues Wednesday that they would not take up the Senate version of immigration reform.

No Senate GOP leaders are backing the bill either, which gives Boehner additional cover.

Schumer indicated Democrats and the White House will raise pressure on the House to act in the months to come.

He said it was the Senate's responsibility to "set the tone so Republicans go to Boehner and say, 'Look, I don't want to vote for this, but get it off our back.'"

The Senate's number three Democrat said he hoped for a "million person march on Washington" to intensify pressure on moderates in the GOP.

GOP leaders have also pledged that they will not proceed on immigration legislation that violates the so-called "Hastert Rule," which requires a majority of the Republican majority supports a bill for it to get a vote. Schumer said he did not think that goal was attainable, but still believed Republicans could be pressured into allowing a bipartisan vote to proceed.

"We won't meet the Hastert rule, the majority of a majority, we just need the atmosphere to be such that says, 'I can't vote for it, but get it off the table.'"