The Senate is going to re-introduce the immigration bill next week by using a procedure that will bring it directly to the floor without having to subject it to committee hearings. At that point there will be floor debate on the bill. A motion will then be made to close off debate so that the bill can be voted on. Closing debate is called "cloture," and it requires 60 (out of 100) votes. Once debate is closed the bill itself will then be voted upon. It takes only 51 votes to pass.
Some Republican senators who want the bill to pass but who don't want to anger their constituents by voting for it are likely to cover themselves by voting for cloture and then voting against the bill. Since it'll be harder to get cloture than to pass the bill they can tell their constituents that they voted against the bill when in fact, by voting for cloture, they almost guaranteed that the bill would pass the Senate, even without their vote.
If the bill succeeds in the Senate it will then go to the House of Representatives where it will be voted upon (there's no cloture in the House). If it passes it will then be sent to the President's desk where he will sign the bill into law.
The Senate cloture vote is projected to be very close and the following Republican senators are still uncommitted:
- Richard Burr (N.C.)
- Kit Bond (Mo.)
- Gordon Smith (Ore.)
- Thad Cochran (Miss.)
- Norm Coleman (Min.)
- Orrin Hatch (Utah)
- and Bob Bennett (Utah).
You can contact your senators to urge them to vote against cloture by going to this site which lists their phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
To read more about why senators should oppose this bill go here to read Congressman Dr. Dave Weldon's (R-FL) excellent critique of it.RLC