Supporters of the Senate’s immigration bill may not have the 70 votes they felt were needed to pressure the House to pass similar legislation.
There will be procedural votes on the bill Thursday. And while the final vote is slated for Friday, Senators could actually move up the vote to late Thursday.
But as Politico notes, two Republican Senators–Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Jeff Chiesa (R-NJ)–who voted for the “border surge” amendment, which passed with 69 votes, then voted against subsequent procedural amendments to the bill, which was a clear signal that the bill will most likely fall short of the 70 votes its supporters felt were needed.
Wicker, after getting non-stop calls to his Senate office from opponents of the bill, has already declared that he would vote against the final bill.
“Although the Corker-Hoeven amendment has, in my view, improved the enforcement provisions, the legislation is still deeply flawed and if enacted would not fix our broken system,” Wicker said.
Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) also said in a floor speech that he would not vote for the final bill.
“I actually moved backwards. I made a very reasonable proposition and they didn’t accept my proposal,” he told Politico, indicating he would also not vote for the final bill.
Chisea could still vote for the bill, and so could Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), but their votes are far from certain.
Without the votes of all these Senators (Chisea, Portman, Chambliss, Coats, Wicker), it will be nearly impossible to get the 70 votes the bill’s supporters desperately wanted.
After 67 Senators agreed on Monday to end debate on the “border surge” amendment, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that though he was still holding out hope that the final bill could somehow be defeated, he said a more realistic goal would be to prevent the bill from passing with 70 votes.