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McConnell tees up immigration votes

 McConnell tees up immigration votes
© Greg Nash

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Appointing a credible, non-partisan Jan. 6 commission should not be difficult Why President Biden is all-in in infrastructure MORE (R-Ky.) teed up votes on a slate of immigration proposals on Wednesday, as he tries to break a logjam that has held the chamber's debate in a days-long limbo. 

McConnell filed cloture on four amendments: A proposal from Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGeorge W. Bush: 'It's a problem that Americans are so polarized' they can't imagine him being friends with Michelle Obama Congress brings back corrupt, costly, and inequitably earmarks Trump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting MORE (R-Ariz.) and Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision Sunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (D-Del.) that deals with "Dreamers" and border security; a measure from Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) cracking down on "sanctuary cities"; a bipartisan immigration deal spearheaded by GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds MORE (Maine); and a GOP-only bill that mirrors President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE's framework. 
 
Under the chamber's rules, the Senate could hold a procedural vote as soon as Friday morning unless they can get a deal to speed up their debate. 
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To overcome the initial hurdle, a proposal will need to get 60 votes — meaning it will need the support of both Republicans and Democrats.
 
If an amendment fails to meet the supermajority threshold, senators are expected to move directly to an initial vote on the next amendment. 
 
The floor action comes as the Senate's immigration debate has largely stalemated, with Democrats blocking McConnell from scheduling votes on Tuesday and uncertainty swirling about if any proposal will be able to pass the chamber this week. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'Building Back Better' requires a new approach to US science and technology Pew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Wednesday evening that the chamber is "closer than we have ever been" to passing a bill to help the Dreamers. 

The Collins group filed its proposal on Wednesday evening. It's expected to include a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants, $25 billion in border security and limited changes to family-based immigration.

Democrats, and some Republicans, had hoped the White House proposal would be the first to get a vote, a move that would allow them to shore up support for their alternatives. 

"You need to ask me that after the [GOP Sen. Chuck] Grassley bill falls short of 60, but the president deserves a vote ... I think the Senate doesn't want to be seen as failing, but time will tell,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish' MORE (R-S.C.), said when asked why the bipartisan group’s bill could pass.
 
But McConnell's decision ensures that the White House plan will likely be the last immigration plan to be voted on.
 
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMedia complicity in rise of the 'zombie president' conspiracy Trump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Senators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision MORE (R-Texas) told reporters earlier that Republicans had already made the decision that their bill, spearheaded by Grassley (R-Iowa), would be the final amendment vote — raising the possibility of a take-it-or-leave it proposition.
 
Grassley's bill, which mirrors the White House's plan, includes a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people, $25 billion in border security, tougher interior enforcement and new limits to legal immigration.