On Thursday, the Senate is set to pass the “Gang of 8″ amnesty legislation. The bill provides for legalization of 11 million illegal immigrants in six months and contains a host of provisions promising to secure the border sometime in the future. There will be three votes today to pass the legislation.
The Senate will convene at 9:30am to continue debate on the amnesty bill. At around 11:30am, the Senate will go “off” the bill to vote to confirm Anthony Foxx as the next Transportation Secretary. After that vote, the Senate will vote to formally adopt the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment as the Committee substitute to the Gang of 8 bill. This vote requires a simple majority.
The Senate will then immediately move to vote to shut off debate on the Gang bill. There will be no further votes on amendments to the bill. On Wednesday, Majority Leader Reid had proposed a hand-selected list of amendments to consider, but Sen. Chuck Grassley objected. Grassley did not think the minority party should cede to the majority the power to select the minority party’s amendments.
The vote to shut off debate requires 60 votes. Supporters of the amnesty bill have boasted for months that they would get more than 70 votes. On the day of the vote, that seems very unlikely. On Monday, the “test vote” to adopt the Corker Amendment received 67 votes. That is the over/under line for the cloture vote.
After the cloture vote, the Senate will then move to pass the Gang amnesty bill. Using every procedural maneuver could push that vote to Friday, but senior Senate aides have told Breitbart News that is unlikely. The final vote, which only requires a simple majority, likely will come late afternoon on Thursday.
Senate sources have told Breitbart News that supporters of the Gang bill acknowledge the problems with the legislation. They have been lobbying undecided Senators to vote for the bill to “get it to conference”, where negotiations with the House could “fix” perceived problems with the bill’s security and enforcement provisions.
The series of Senate votes on Thursday is part of Washington’s kabuki theater. The Senate vote this afternoon concludes Act I of the immigration drama. The game is afoot.