60 Democrats and business-first establishment Republican Senators blocked President Donald Trump’s populist immigration reform agenda, pushing the hot-button topic towards the November election.
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer used his brief speech before the vote to blame President Donald Trump for the Democrats’ refusal to accept a reform-for-amnesty deal, saying:
President Trump created this problem by terminating the DACA program last August. Since then, President Trump has stood in the way over every single proposal that could become law … President Trump has failed his test of leadership spectacularly.
The Trump-backed bill, led by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, lost by 39 to 60, showcasing the political clout of the tacit alliance between pro-immigration progressive Democrats and roughly 12 business-first Republicans, plus at least one anti-amnesty Republican. Many business groups had pressured the GOP Senators to vote against the reforms, largely because Trump promised to cut future legal immigration levels.
The defeat may block pending Senate negotiations over the appropriation of $1.6 billion for the border-wall spending in 2018. The funding decision is slated for completion in late March.
The defeat also invites Trump to make immigration reform a central issue in the November election. White House officials have pushed that strategy in the last few days, noting that polls show that most Americans want immigration rules to favor Americans and their paychecks — instead of cheap-labor companies or immigrants.
The vote showed that several red-state Democrats facing the voters this November joined with the business-first Republicans to maintain wage-cutting immigration, and to preserve the unpopular visa-lottery and chain-migration programs.
Throughout the four-vote series of amendments, few Democrats crossed the line to vote for Trump’s pro-American proposals, while several Republicans backed the cheap-labor amnesty bills.
For example, only three Democrats voted against the Democrats’ main proposal — which would have suspended enforcement of immigration law for migrants who arrived before January 1 (a morning draft of the legislation said the deadline was June 30).
At least two of those Senators only voted no after the 41 GOP Senators had already successfully voted to block the proposal. They were New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and California Sen. Kamala Harris. The final result was 47 to 54.
Three red-state Democratic Senators voted for the Grassley/Trump measure. They were North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Roughly 14 GOP Senators voted against the reform.
Also, eight Republicans voted for the Democrats’ main amnesty bill, which was credited to the Democrat-dominated “Common Sense Coalition.” The amnesty GOP Senators were led by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Jeff Flake, but also included Maine Sen. Susan Collins, South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Tennesee Sen. Lamar Alexander, and Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson. The Democrats’ anti-enforcement measure was also supported by GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, who is actually the chairman of the GOP Senators’ 2018 election campaign.
Media outlets portrayed the GOP’s business-first Senators as “moderates” or “conservatives.”
That's one of the more embarrassing showings you'll see for a @ChuckGrassley bill — 39 votes. Wow. He lost 11 Senate Rs, a mix of mods & conservatives.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) February 15, 2018
— Lisa Mascaro (@LisaMascaro) February 15, 2018
The 14 GOP Senators who voted against the Grassley-Trump measure included South Dakota’s Sen. John Thune, who is a member of the leadership team with Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell. The no votes included Sen. Ted Cruz, who said earlier he would oppose it because it endorsed an amnesty along with immigration reforms.
The list of 14 Senators also included several pro-amnesty Senators — Collins, Flake, and Murkowski — plus a series of business-leaning Senators, including Sens. Ben Sasse, John Thune, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi from Wyoming, Mike Lee from Utah, Jerry Moran from Kansas, Steve Daines from Montana, and John Kennedy from Lousiana.
Four GOP Senators — Flake, Gardner, Graham, Murkowski — also voted yes for another amnesty bill drafted by Democratic Sen. Chris Coons and GOP Sen. John McCain. That bill was defeated 47 to 52. Sen. Joe Manchin, a red-state Democrat who faces the voters in November, vote against the Coons-McCain giveaway.
Several of the Schumer-allied, pro-amnesty GOP Senators covered their pro-amnesty votes by also voting for the Grassley measure once it was clear that it would fail. They included Alexander, Gardner, Graham, Isakson, and Rounds.
Nearly all Democratic Senators voted against a proposal by GOP Sen. Toomey to financially penalize sanctuary cities. The amendment got 54 votes, which kept it six votes below the 60-vote threshold. Forty-seven Democrats voted against sanctuary-city penalties.
Even without the new laws from Congress, Trump can continue to enforce immigration laws, punish employers for hiring illegals and update visa and security rules to exclude dangerous migrants.
Many polls show that Trump’s 2016 immigration policies are very popular in the polling booth. His proposed amnesty for 1.8 million illegals gets high scores in business-funded polls but is unlikely to shift any votes into the GOP column in November.
Immigration polls which ask people to pick a priority, or to decide which options are fair, show that voters in the polling booth put a high priority on helping their families and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy. Those results are very different from the “Nation of Immigrants” polls which are funded by CEOs and progressives, and which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants.
Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.
But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting roughly 1.1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.
The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.