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A boy listens to U.S. President Barack Obama speak on immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young
After voting earlier Tuesday by an 82-15 margin to proceed to a vote on whether to proceed to a floor debate on comprehensive immigration reform, the Senate on Tuesday afternoon formally voted by an 84-15 margin to move forward with debate.

If that sounds like a mouthful, it is. Here's a simple explanation: The Senate still sucks. Slightly longer: The Senate not only has to vote on whether to proceed to a debate on legislation, it has to vote on whether to vote to proceed. It has now done both. Given current Senate rules, the lopsided margin in favor of moving forward is certainly better than the alternative, but it doesn't guarantee final passage. Once the floor debate comes to an end, moving forward to a final vote on the legislation itself will once again require 60 votes ... because the Senate still sucks.

There's a parallel here with gun safety legislation, which also moved forward for debate despite being ultimately killed. However, the vote to move forward on gun safety legislation was narrower, with 68 senators voting in favor. Unlike immigration reform, some Democrats opposed the underlying legislation, making achieving the 60 votes needed for final passage an impossible task. This time around, Democrats will need 6 votes from Republicans, and they appear to have at least 5—assuming each of the 4 Republicans in the "Gang of 8" and New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte vote in favor of reform.

Bottom line: It's still a challenge, but the starting point is better than with gun safety legislation. And the Senate still sucks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ...But still not half as much as (4+ / 0-)

    the House GOP suck.

    ;-)

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:36:37 PM PDT

  •  What's with Kirk voting no? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, Generic Democrat

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:40:06 PM PDT

    •  probaly to mke up for voting for gun bill (0+ / 0-)

      Kirk has to start voting right wing if he wants to even get nominated again. he has been voting somewhat moderate and  it's almost a sure thing he gets primaried which would just make regaining the seat easier for the democrats.

      •  he could always vote no later, (0+ / 0-)

        when there was something he could point to as objectionable.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:55:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It was tragic that Ds put up such a lightweight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Faito

        as Alexi Giannoulias, the (get this) Illinois Treasurer whose family bank defaulted during the election cycle, to oppose the sniveling, dishonest Kirk (falsified military record).

        Typical embarrassment for a state famous for imprisoned governors, a $100Billion unfunded pension liability, and the worst credit rating of all 50 states.

        We must have a better Democrat around here somewhere who is not named Madigan, Jackson, Daley, or Blagojevich.

        Honesty is not a policy. It's a character trait.

        by Says Who on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:12:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He holds Obama's former seat (0+ / 0-)

        The last thing he wants to do is portray himself as anything else but moderate

        “The Republicans believe in the minimum wage — the more the minimum, the better.”-Harry S Truman

        by Generic Democrat on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:20:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, that's odd, imo (0+ / 0-)

      He said he would vote for final passage if Cornyn's border security amendment passes. But Dems consider that a poison pill.

      What's weird is that even Cornyn voted aye on advancing the bill.

    •  There's a misconception (0+ / 0-)

      that Kirk is moderate on most issues.  He is on gay rights and guns but overall, he's conservative on most things related to economics or foreign policy.  Collins, Murkowski, and even senators like Hoeven or Alexander are often voting to the left of him.  I actually would say that Kirk and Johnson in Wisconsin are the two Republican senators that are the most out of line with their constituents wishes.  They have no excuse in the states they represent.

      •  Then why's he going against the C of C? (0+ / 0-)

        Nobody suggests he's a tea party guy or fringe nativist, to my knowledge.

        Don't overlook Pat Toomey.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:13:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd add Toomey (R-PA) (0+ / 0-)

        He just squeaked over the line in a Republican wave year, and seems determined to go out with a bang in 2016. Generally speaking, Pennsylvania doesn't particularly like Birchers - the most successful Republicans there were always moderates like Specter.

        "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

        by Australian2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:58:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I forgot about Toomey (0+ / 0-)

          He definitely is another one that needs to go because he doesn't represent the average Pennsylvanian.  Unfortunately, his background check thing may have blinded some Pennsylvanians to how crazy he can be.

  •  GOP will still find a way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    To screw Latino voters for the next generation.

    They just can't help themselves.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:41:56 PM PDT

    •  I don't understand. (0+ / 0-)

      What does the immigration bill have to do with Latino voters?

      My Latino neighbor is a legal immigrant. What interest does he have in seeing large numbers of illegal immigrants get amnesty?

      •  Well, for starters, families will be able to apply (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor, greendem

        to stay in this country legally so they won't be afraid of getting ripped apart in Deportation hearings, so even with your neighbor legal, he's probably got a number of acquaintances who aren't.  In addition, there will be a sharp reduction in things like Arizona's "Papers Please" laws where driving/working/existing while brown are almost automatic excuses for police in some areas to stop and harass Hispanics just because of racial profiling.  Not immediately, but within a few years, as more and more Latinos are granted citizenship, there will be more and more chance for his voice to be heard because he and his fellow Latinos will be a block of voters that even the Republicans can't sh*t on anymore if they want to win elections.

        That's just barely scratching the surface on why I think this bill will be a good deal for the country - not just your Latino neighbor.

        •  If my neighbor... (0+ / 0-)

          ...has family members who want to come here isn't there an expedited process for them? One that is better than the 13 years currently proposed?

          Also, the Arizona laws won't go away. We will still need to keep future illegal immigrants out, and there will still be no end of proposals (both smart ones and dumb ones) to do that.

          Lastly, my neighbor has a good job. Surely he understands that more immigrants will lower his wages?

          •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ManhattanMan
            If my neighbour...has family members who want to come here isn't there an expedited process for them? One that is better than the 13 years currently proposed?
            Short answer? No.

            "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

            by Australian2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:04:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So this bill doesn't even... (0+ / 0-)

              ...make things better for the people we most logically would want to help?

              Is there anything good about the bill at all?

              This supports my original rhetorical question: "Why would a Latino voter like this bill?"

              (BTW, excellent link. I had no idea the "legal" process was that horrible).

              •  That's the current system. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not up to speed on the specifics of what the bill does - for that, I'm afraid that you'll have to ask someone else.

                "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

                by Australian2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:23:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Let me list the reasons (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Senor Unoball, Faito, greendem

        (1) He probably doesn't want to be racially profiled.

        (2) Your idea of illegal immigrant may not be his - he may well understand with more nuance than you do the failures of the current system and the impossible choices facing immigrants.

        (3)  He may not be as scared of competition for his job as perhaps you might be.

        (4)  He might have a stake in a business that depends upon the strength of the general economy, which benefits by legalization.

        (5)  He might feel uncomfortable deporting 11 million people, most of whom work as hard or harder than his neighbors.

        (6)  He might actually know some kids who came here with their parents, and for whom this is home - and he may be a decent enough human being to realize that those kids are as fully American as those who would deport them.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:12:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good reply. (0+ / 0-)

          But ManhattanMan doesn't have a Latino neighbor who is a legal immigrant.  S/he is just trying to goad people into disagreeing.

          •  I'm not going to go down that road (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Faito

            I would rather assume goodwill.  I think Manhattan Man is seriously worried that his job in the IT sector will disappear.  I work with immigrants and used to work on policy for an immigrant rights group, so I'm firmly in the pro-comprehensive immigration reform camp.  I find myself getting annoyed at the IT sector who see their needs and interests first... but, they are scared of losing their jobs.  They are scared to be 50 and unemployed and in the 2013 parallel to mill workers in the South 40 years ago. So I'm goint to dial back my annoyance and try to understand their fear.

            Bottom line for me, though, is that we need a pathway to full equal status for those who are here and who are contributing members of our society.  I don't want anything to stop that from happening.  But I am going to try to be less hostile to those who fear these changes.

            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

            by ivorybill on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:33:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Dude, in my neighborhood... (0+ / 0-)

            ...I have few neighbors who are not Latino. My name is "ManhattanMan", not "Midtown ManhattanMan".

            But yes, I do want to provoke some discussion of this. I have knocked on doors for Democrats in upstate districts and this bill is not something I want around my neck when I canvass in 2014.

            I believe that we are making a mistake. But I've been wrong before, so I'm asking to be talked down.

        •  Point-by-point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tweedledee5

          1) Legalizing 11 million people won't make racism go away. And since the bill does little to slow future immigration, brown people will still be suspected of being illegals.

          2) Understandable. We tend to sympathize with people who have had similar experiences.

          3) and 4) He is not a 1%-ter. He works for a living. His assets are his house and his car. He does not have $500,000 invested in the S&P 500.

          5) If the bill fails, we are not deporting 11 million people (physically impossible). We just begin negotiating again.

          6) The kids, aka "DREAMers" are the most sympathetic players in the negotiation. Surely something can be done for the kids without screwing over American workers?

  •  This is not a good bill. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Icicle68, Tweedledee5

    Progressives should oppose it.

    The bill will greatly increase the number of workers that Corporations can bring in under H1B Visas and other programs.  These lower-wage workers hurt American wages.

    We should not support the bill unless more protections are put in place for American workers.

    We should especially consider the young college grads who supported is in the last few elections. They have worked hard to get a college degree (sometimes they are the first in their family to do so). They are repaying huge debts at above-market interest rates.

    But they voted for us. And their reward? They now get to train their H1B replacements.

    We should not be stampeded into supporting this bill. We must be prepared to walk away and let if fail if it does not protect workers.

    Remember: The Republicans need it more than we do! Make them throw the Corporations under the bus.

    •  I think this bill will divide the Republicans even (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan

      more - the corporatists vs. the racists.  Anything that can do that is a good thing, imo.  I'm in one of the industries that needs to worry about H1B visas and I'm probably affected by the downward pressure on wages by those people.  I still think that this bill is a good thing because it will provide a means for undocumented people to have a path to citizenship, a way to come out of the shadows and a means for people who were brought to this country as babies and have never known any other country to finally be able to go to school, serve in the military or in some fashion have a potentially significant future instead of having to fear every time they interact with the increasingly interconnected US.

      •  It doesn't hurt the Repubs... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, Tweedledee5

        ...because they aren't voting for it.

        1) Democrats will vote "yes" and give the anti-worker goodies to the Corporations.

        2) Then Republicans will (mostly) vote "no" and look like saviors of the Working Man. Or saviors of American Racial Purity, depending on their audience.

        Remember the infamous Jesse Helms "White Hands" TV ad?

        Just imagine it with a different voice-over: "You needed that job. But they gave it to a kid on an H1-B visa instead...for wages 20% lower..."  The real kicker is that in the 2014 ad, the hands won't need to be white. They can be any color...!

        The Republicans need this bill more than we do. We should play hardball. We can strip out the anti-worker provisions and stand up for the Americans who are unemployed. They are already throwing the racists under the bus. Make them do the same with the Corporations.

        •  I think far more people will view this for (0+ / 0-)

          the immigration and path to citizenship than for the H1-B Visa issue.  It affects far more people and I think the Democrats will show that they're the ones who voted to help the undocumented while Republicans voted against them.  Yes, the H1-B issue will hurt, but I just think who votes for the path to citizenship will help Democrats more than trying to block it would help Republicans.

    •  There's going to be compromise (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not happy with the fact that the bill does not treat same-sex couples the same as straight couples.  That would kill the overall bill. I happen to agree with you on advocating for fewer H1-B visas. But at the end of the day, this bill needs to pass. I know your biggest concern is that someone will be hired from abroad to replace you.  We may end up in a situation in which CIR fails, but that your job gets outsourced abroad anyway.

      We are going to disagree on this.  Fight it if you must; but know that many of us will grow less sympathetic to your particular issue.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:27:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  H1Bs do not hurt american workers. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apip0115

      H1Bs do not hurt American workers, this is a lie repeated by groups like FAIR or NumbersUSA. In fact, 183 jobs are created for US citizens for every 100 H1Bs. This bill helps end many problems with H1Bs, and it allows those workers to switch jobs easily. As it stands now, the H1B cap is set so low that it was filled within days this year. If it is not raised, corporations will simply employ people overseas, to the detriment of the US economy. In fact, Microsoft created a software development center in Canada for the sole purpose of overcoming restrictive US immigration laws.

      •  Do you have any... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tweedledee5

        ...source for the assertion that H1B Visas "create" jobs?

        It can be shown that more immigration increases GDP. But if I hire 5 H1B visa workers instead of 5 Americans, how can that possibly create an additional 4 jobs?

        What is so magical about the foriegn-born worker that he brings 0.83 jobs with him? And how do we know that this fractional job goes to a "US Citizen"?

        And lastly (I don't mean to be vulgar) but what do these "created" jobs pay?

  •  There is no guarentee every Democrat (0+ / 0-)

    Votes for the final bill.

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:46:49 PM PDT

  •  I can't say I'm optimistic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tweedledee5

    I think Rubio will back out if the Republicans don't get their poisoned pill of an air tight border.
    Even if a miracle does happen and the Senate manages to pass it with the minimum of 6 Republicans, it will die a miserable death in the House.

  •  Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) voted against cloture (0+ / 0-)

    So now we know where he stands - against comprehensive immigration reform.  I'm not sure whether he realizes how the landscape of Illinois has changed. The pro-immigrant organizations in Chicago are flooding his phone lines right now telling him that they will not forget nor will they forgive.  He has no idea yet the degree to which ICIRR and other organizations have been building support in the suburbs, no idea yet how much better organized the Latino community is in Illionois than four years ago.

    He can try to run with the nativist crowd on this, but Chicago itself favors immigration reform, and so does the agricultural sector, and so does business leadership in the state.  

    A few years back, I watched as ICIRR and other organizations got half a million people to pack the entire downtown area in favor of immigration reform.  They have been organizing since then. Those folks are paying attention, and a good number of them are citizens and can vote.  This is going to backfire in the same way trying to keep black folks from the polls did last November. I am actually kind of glad Kirk voted the way he did, because he's going to suffer for this.  

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:03:02 PM PDT

  •  All current American immigration law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    in all its aspects and categories, including the category "illegal alien" have their origin in the same place, the 1924 "immigration reform".  Quick!  What prestigious and uniquely American organization was primarily responsible for both the content and the passage of the 1924 Immigration Act?

    "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:05:07 PM PDT

  •  Well, for now, the Senate bill doesn't suck (0+ / 0-)

    Until they get to amend the Senate Bill, then it will suck.

    And the House will pass a bill that sucks even more than the sucky Senate Bill.

    And nothing will change for those who need passage of this bill the most.

    Did I mention how much this is going to suck??? :-)

  •  The Senate (0+ / 0-)

    is one of the stupidest places on Earth: "...to proceed to a vote on whether to proceed to a floor debate..." Not that any of this matters, it's all just a waste of time since everyone knows the house is going to vote it down. The Republican Senators surely know THAT, that's why they voted to go ahead and vote on whether or not to debate about whether or not to proceed to the next vote which will decide whether or not they proceed to a vote to vote against a filibuster which will allow them to proceed to yet another vote on whether or not to vote on any amendments which also need a vote about whether or not to vote for or against a filibuster which by the way requires a separate vote for or against a filibuster on each amendment and then an up or down vote on debating each amendment and then another filibuster vote on the actual text of each amendment and then a vote on the actual amendment assuming the filibuster is voted down and then another filibuster vote on whether or not to vote to send the legislation to the house and then if it gets that far one final vote to send the legislation to the house. At least I think that's what they voted on.

  •  So wait, you're telling me (0+ / 0-)

    that the Senate has to hold no less than four floor votes for legislation to clear the chamber?

    One to vote on whether to vote to proceed;
    One to vote to proceed;
    One to break a filibuster (It's telling that I assume there WILL be a filibuster); and finally
    One on the actual bill?

    That's.....that's several different versions of dysfunctional right there.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:56:41 PM PDT

  •  "In recent years, one in four of America’s new (0+ / 0-)

    small business owners were immigrants.  One in four high-tech startups in America were founded by immigrants.  Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by a first- or second-generation American. Think about that -- almost half of the Fortune 500 companies when they were started were started by first- or second-generation immigrants.  So immigration isn’t just part of our national character.  It is a driving force in our economy that creates jobs and prosperity for all of our citizens."

    President Obama today.

    Remarks by the President on Immigration Reform | The White House

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    •  Slinky statistics. (0+ / 0-)

      I expected better of the President.

      Over the past 100 years, about 1/3rd of the population has been either a first or second generation immigrant.

      Of course the average Fortune 500 company is about 50 years old. When you take the 1/3rd of America who are immigrants and subtract the 15% of Black Americans who had no civil rights in 1960, is it really surprising that 40% of companies were founded by immigrants and sons of immigrants?

      We won't even consider all the native-born Americans who did not get start-up capital because it went to an immigrant. The competition for capital is as fierce as the competition for jobs.

      Some immigration is inevitable. We must also keep our borders open to those fleeing oppression. But immigration so that Corporations can keep their labor costs down? Not acceptable.

    •  Were they legal (0+ / 0-)

      or illegal.  And yes, it makes a difference.

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