There has been a lot of speculation about whether the Senate immigration reform bill has the votes to pass.
Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.) last month suggested it didn’t. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWill Republicans increase red tape in the healthcare industry? Sanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Nev.) then said it did. But Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: Lack of GOP consensus on healthcare is not a 'weakness' Overnight Finance: Trump budget faces GOP resistance | House panel blocks Dem effort on Trump's business ties | Corporate giants at odds over border tax Rubio defends foreign aid amid proposed cuts MORE (R-Fla.) said nope, still short.
On Tuesday, the Gang of Eight’s measure cleared two procedural hurdles, the first by a count of 84-15. Among those who voted “yes” was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSchumer to Trump: Get your own 'act together' before blaming Dems GOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Schumer: Trump's speech 'detached' from reality MORE (R-Ky.), who voted against procedural motions on immigration reform in 2007.
It’s unclear whether McConnell and other Senate Republicans will vote for on final passage. The minority leader is up for reelection next year, and says the bill needs “major changes.”
Many Republicans, including McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump's intel pick faces Senate | House panel to mark up cyber standards bill DNI confirmation offers preview of surveillance debate Schumer: Trump speech 'less important' that past presidents' addresses MORE (Texas), are pushing for tougher border-security provisions. Democrats, such as Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerGOP's leaked 'repeal and replace' plan is the scorpion striking the frog Schumer: Trump wants to take 'two by four' to media Overnight Defense: Trump proposes 3B defense budget | Defense hawks say proposal falls short | Pentagon to probe Yemen raid MORE (N.Y.), are defending the enforcement parts of the underlying bill.
Reid has called Cornyn’s border-security amendment a “poison pill.”
Despite the occasional salvo this spring, immigration reform is headed for passage in the Senate. That doesn’t mean it will pass. After all, it was a
Democratic “poison pill” amendment that helped kill immigration reform in the George W. Bush administration. But today’s odds are clearly better than 50-50.
House GOP leaders are not going to pass the Senate immigration bill, no matter how it changes through the amendment process. They will look to pass their own legislation and get into a conference committee with the Senate.
There is a bipartisan gang in the House working on immigration reform, but the group has failed to produce a bill. Even if it did, the lower chamber is unlikely to pass one large bill.
Instead, the Judiciary Committee could chop it up into pieces that are easier for conservatives to digest, and try to pass each bit by itself. That would suit the right far better than a bill similar to the Senate measure, which comes in at more than 1,000 pages.
Deadlines are coming into focus. The Senate wants to pass its bill by July 4 and the House would like to clear legislation by the August recess. A final bill could be on President Obama’s desk by the end of 2013.
If it is passed, Obama will have added another landmark bill to his resume. If it falters, 2013 will be viewed as a very disappointing year for the president’s domestic agenda.