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The Senate plans procedural games to "fast track" immigration bill (update)
Posted by: McQ on Monday, June 18, 2007

Or so a Senate source Katherine Jean Lopez cites says.

In essence it is planned to unfold like this with the entire bill taking no more than 6-8 days to pass.

Step one: avoid committee (aka "backroom deal") as they did last time invoking an obscure Senate rule:
We expect Reid, in conjunction with support from McConnell, Lott and Grand Bargainers Kyl, Martinez, Graham and McCain, to introduce a brand new piece of legislation - and use Rule 14 to put the bill immediately on the Senate calendar without going thru committee - which of course, the first bill did not do as well.
The bill will essentially contain the same language as the previous bill plus incorporating some amendments:
We expect that the new bill's drafters (White House, Kennedy, Kyl, Graham, et. al.) will use close to the same language as the original substitute amendment (the first immigration bill) as amended by the 14 Democrat and 13 Republican amendments adopted the the first go round.
Step two: Move quickly for a cloture vote.
A new Rule 14 bill takes 1-2 days to ripen, and then we expect Reid to file cloture on the motion to proceed (a step he will need to take because numerous Senators are objecting to any unanimous consent agreements). The cloture motion takes time to ripen, so that adds a full day and change before the vote (60). Then, there is 30 hours of "post cloture debate" that a number of Senators will refuse to allow to be shortened.
So that process will take about 3.5 days maximum if everything goes as Reid plans on this "Republican bill". When the 30 hours expire, all that will be necessary to proceed on the bill is a majority Senate vote (not 60).

Step three: Attempt to file cloture again following the majority vote to proceed:
Once on the bill, Reid will again file cloture (to shut off debate - again, a number of Senators will continue to object to unanimous consent agreements) - this time on the bill itself.
To this point everything is pretty much scripted and should happen as Reid plans. It is from this point, that the whole thing could go off the rails again as well. What is expected by this Senate source, is to see Reid attempt to invoke an arcane Senate rule that hasn't been used for quite some time:
The guessing begins at this point - but we expect Reid - with the help and support of certain Republican leadership and the Grand Bargainers - to do something that we believe has never been done in the history of the Senate... he will use an arcane Senate procedure that allows a single amendment to be divisible into many - in this case, into the 20-odd amendments the Grand Bargainers are trying to cobble together to keep 60 votes in support of the bill. Traditionally, that amendment has been used to protect minority rights - but in this case, it will be used to PREVENT the minority from getting additional amendments called up and from being able to fully debate the amendments in question. It is, to our knowledge, unprecedented.
Got it so far? It is believed Harry Reid plans on trying to pass a bill which couldn't survive normal Senate procedure by using procedural trickery in order to move it through the process. As noted, that's what is believed will happen based on the buzz inside the Senate.

That will naturally lead to step four:
Once the cloture motion ripens (again, another day and change), the cloture vote can occur (60 votes) and then, again, there is 30 hours of "post cloture debate" during which Reid will run, in order, through the panoply of amendments offered by way of the division.
The point here is if they get to this step in the amended process, they have a much better chance of achieving cloture than through the normal Senate process.

Naturally step five is:
Finally, there will be a vote on final passage.
The Senate source makes the point:
If Reid does this, with the help of certain Republican leadership and the Grand Bargainers, they will shut off the ability of Senators with concerns of the bill to offer additional amendments and to debate the amendments in question.

In the end, this means that if they have 60 lined up to support it - there is little that can be done procedurally - so it has become far more important than ever for Senators to hear from their constituents.
The key to stopping such a procedural end run is highlighted in the paragraph above. If you believe this bill needs to be debated and go through normal Senate procedure in order to assure that, you know what to do.

UPDATE: Per Sen. McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, on CBS's "Face the Nation":
The Senate's top Republican said Sunday he could not predict whether stalled immigration legislation will pass, citing questions among conservatives as to whether it guarantees amnesty to illegal immigrants.

''It's a mixed picture,'' said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who called the vote, which is expected before lawmakers begin their Fourth of July vacation, too close to call. ''There are good things in the bill, and not so good things in the bill.''
Not hard to read between those lines, is it?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I have gone back and emailed/fax’d both GA Senators, but this is getting pathetic.

Gotta hand it to technology and the new media though... this would have flown under the radar 15 years ago and would already be law.
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
So McConnel is doing the "CYA Shuffle", already?
Written By: Bithead
The only thing I can think of is to start recall campaigns. Even if it risks losing the seat to a moonbat or whatever.

Otherwise, they obviously don’t fear us.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
There’s the GOP, intent on killing themselves for generations....

Written By: shark
URL: http://
If you believe this bill needs to be debated and go through normal Senate procedure in order to assure that, you know what to do.

I believe this bill needs to be tackled to the ground, decapitated, its mouth stuffed with garlic, and a stake driven through its chest. Failing that, I’ll email my Senators. But, since their names are Feinstein and Boxer, that’s pretty much the definition of a bootless errand.
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
These reprobates in the House of Lords don’t fear the people - they play by their own rules knowing they are there for at least 6 years and the passage of those years will make most voters "forget" their little games.

The RINO’s must be voted out when their time comes (Lott in 5 years) no matter what the fallout, as someone else just said. We the People need to remember who represents us and who represents private interests.

Everyone of you who considers yourself an American should do what I’ve done and go to the official website of these dirtbags and (try) to write a civil yet strong message that we have had enough, and you are DONE next election.

Until it happens - they will never change their ways or believe the public is serious about its positions.
Written By: Bruce

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