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Shamnesty on the Senate Floor Redux: "Let's End This Thing"
Fight, fight, fight! The battle continues. There's heated debate right now on the Senate floor over the throat-ramming process embraced by Reid/Bush/GOP Grand Schemers. Noon update: vote underway on Hutchison "touchback" amendment. Update: Hutchison amendment killed. Plus: Video added of DeMint trying to keep the debate open.
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Originally posted June 27, 2007 @ 11:31am

Bumped June 27, [email protected]:52pm

11:10pm Eastern. You know all those calls you’ve made? All those faxes/letters you’ve sent? They are working. Don’t think you can’t make a difference. Here’s the Washington Post headline: “Immigration Measure Appears Imperiled Again.” More quotes of the day:

The Senate yesterday turned back a series of amendments from both parties aimed at substantially altering controversial immigration legislation, but the bill shed supporters as it became mired in procedural hurdles that left backers concerned about its prospects.

The legislation faces a make-or-break vote this morning when senators will decide whether to cut off debate and move to a final vote tomorrow. If it does not get the 60 votes necessary, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has said he will pull the bill, all but dashing hopes for any meaningful legislation this year.

Top legislative aides in both parties predicted today’s vote would be very close but would fall short of keeping the proposal alive.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a key opponent, crowed last night that “they tried to railroad this through today, but we derailed the train.” Another opponent, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said, “I would say to my colleagues: Let’s end this thing.

Rolling updates on Senate floor activity

8:00pm update. Jeff Sessions gets the quote of the day…Video added:

“Radio talk show hosts know more about this bill than most Senators, if you want to know the truth.”

7:41pm update. Debate on shamnesty is over for the day. Looks like we are headed to cloture vote tomorrow morning. What happened in the last half-hour is good news for our side, bad news for the open-borders brigade.

The Politico sums it up: Immigration bill struggling.

Proponents of the Senate immigration bill were unable to block an amendment Wednesday on identification requirements, casting doubt on whether the overall measure will clear a crucial test vote set for Thursday morning.

The bill survived its first cloture motion Tuesday by a vote of 64 to 35. Only five senators would need to change their position for the bill to collapse Thursday.

It just so happens that four senators who voted Tuesday to move the bill forward have since seen the Senate reject their amendments, potentially moving some of them into the “no” column. The list includes Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

At least one of them, Webb, has indicated that he is a likely to oppose the bill.

Menendez has not made a decision, his spokesman said. Dodd’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Bond was reportedly moving against the bill.

And a fifth senator, Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), said he would vote against cloture.

“It’s a tight vote,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the chief Democratic negotiator. “We are going to work, and work hard.”

How about you?

7:17pm update. I stepped away when the Baucus amendment was voted on. The Senate voted not to table it. A Hill source explains that “this is a big deal because Reid’s Clay Pigeon strategy relied on killing amendments so that he could continue his vice grip on the Senate floor. The result of this vote was the Baucus amendment remained alive and the clay pigeon strategy was temporarily derailed and thus Senators’ rights were restored. The remaining amendments in the clay pigeon will not be voted on now before the cloture vote. In all likelihood Reid will give up on the clay pigeon strategy and move that the next vote be on cloture tomorrow morning because he does not want this bill to be debated under regular Senate order. So now the Senate is moving fast towards a Thursday morning cloture vote (probably at 10:30) that is still a de facto vote for final passage of the amnesty bill.”

Stand by…

Well, there’s debate going on right now. Kennedy bloviated for a bit. Thune is now talking: “The die was cast long before debate began…process was bypassed by Grand Bargainers…blasts those playing the race card. It is not anti-immigrant to be for the rule of law. It is not xenophobic to believe that those who come to America should come here legally.”

6:36pm update. Speaking of lack of confidence in our lawmakers, get a load of blubbering, clueless George Voinovich on Hannity. Good gawd. Keep talking, George. You’re the best help we have in killing the bill out there.

6:30pm update. Tom Coburn on the floor. Typing as fast as I can here:

“We have failed to instill the confidence in the American people in the Congress that we are about doing what is in the best long-term interest of our country. It’s not about being against immigration or for immigration. It’s not about being against or for an ethnic group. It’s not about liberal or conservative. It’s about the worry the American people have about the concept we call liberty…There’s worry that the thing that gives us liberty, which is the rule of law, is somehow being tinkered with in a way that undermines our confidence and security in what the American Dream is all about.”

Couldn’t say it better myself.

5:31pm update. Specter is having a snit fit over Grassley’s remarks about broken promises and bad process. Specter’s thin skin is oozing imperiousness. Everything you hate about the Senate. Specter moves to table the Baucus amendment.

5:04pm update. Reid is asking Sessions to allocate some of his time to Grassley to talk about his amendment on employer verification. Kyl wants time to debate. Reid skips Sessions and gives time to Grassley and Kyl to make remarks “for debate only.”


Grassley: “Thank you for the kindness…I was promised by the senator from Penn and senator from Mass that I would have an opportunity to offer an amendment…that promise has been kept. But no opportunity to debate the amendment…” Grassley is irked. Recounts that the compromise package that he agreed to was not what ended up being produced back in April. I was here in 1986 when we had amnesty, as we have in this current bill. Resulted in more illegal immigration…I’m not one who wants to make that mistake again. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it is a duck. If it looks like amnesty, talks like amnesty, it is amnesty. And it is amnesty.”

Kyl objects to Grassley amendment. Kennedy piles on, bloviating about poor illegal workers who might get caught up in “glitches” with the employer verification system.

Grassley has three minutes to respond. Grassley notes that Kennedy simply parroted a Chertoff letter to Grassley. Grassley says he neglected to read Grassley’s rebuttal. He rebuts Kennedy/Kyl on his sunset provisions, verification measures.

4:39pm update. Menendez-Obama-Feingold amendment is tabled. Sessions now has 30 minutes for debate only.

Meantime, North Carolina readers are e-mailing that Burr’s office is telling them he is a no vote on cloture tomorrow.

4:16pm update. Behind the scenes, the vote-trading deals are ongoing. A source tells me that some senators who were promised that their amendments would be included in the Reid amendment package are now being leaned on by Kennedy and the Grand Schemers to guarantee cloture votes in return. John Ensign is one of those senators.

John Ensign (R., Nev.)

h. 202-224-6244 Fax 202-228-2193

Alternate phones:

(702) 388-6605

(775) 686-5770

(775) 885-9111

Rob Bluey finds more buyoffs embedded in the shamnesty bill in the form of pork-flavored earmark.

4:07pm update. Dodd amendment is tabled, 56-41. Reid refuses to yield for a parliamentary inquiry from Vitter.

An unnamed amendment has been withdrawn without unanimous consent. Reid says unanimous consent is not needed. Menendez-Obama-Feingold amendment to amend the point system and move it back to favoring family reunification is apparently up next. Menendez speaks about his amendment. Vitter is trying to get recognized for a parliamentary inquiry. Vitter: Will the majority leader yield? Menendez keeps speaking over them–engaging in debate despite the rules laid down by Reid that have prohibited GOP opponents from debating.

Reid responds to Menendez. Moves to vote on tabling the amendment.

3:59pm update. Vote is underway on tabling a Dodd amendment. Meantime, Noam Askew hears that Domenici will vote against cloture tomorrow. There’s buzz that Nelson and Bond are also likely no’s.

3:29pm update. The Bond amendment is killed, 56-41. Reid is reading the letter he sent to GOP senators regarding the clay pigeon strategy. I posted the exchange yesterday here. David Vitter is trying to get recognized. He is “acknowledged, but not recognized.” Now, Vitter’s allowed to speak.

Vitter: “Senator McConnell is not being railroaded. President Bush is not being railroaded. I’m being railroaded. My colleagues [who want to offer amendments] are being railroaded.”

DeMint gets time to read the GOP senators response to Reid’s letter.

3:00pm update. The vote on whether to table Bond’s amendment commences.

2:42pm update. Vitter asks Reid point blank if he and others will have a chance to offer amendments. Reid extols the fairness of the process. Translation: No.

Debate begins on the Bond amendment, which would bar illegal immigrants from eventually getting green cards. Ted Kennedy is hyperventilating.

There was also a challenge to Reid about whether the $4.4 billion border security sweetener could be used on implementing shamnesty. Reid says it wouldn’t/couldn’t. He’s wrong.

DeMint’s office issued this press release on a CRS report that contradicts the shamnesty crowd:

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) released Wednesday a report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) which says the new Senate immigration bill contains a major loophole in border security. Supporters of the bill say it provides $4.4 billion in immediate mandatory spending for border enforcement, but according to the CRS analysis, the funds could also be used immediately to implement the amnesty provisions bill.

“This is just another example of how this bill claims to do one thing but does something else entirely. It’s another example of an empty promise being used to buy votes for amnesty,” said Senator DeMint. “The supporters of this bill have been running around trying to convince people that this money will be used to secure the border first, but now we know that’s not the case. If you read the fine print, the bill says this money can also be used for amnesty.”

Here’s the conclusion of the CRS report:

In response to your question concerning whether the $4.4 billion in funding appropriated under the Immigration Security Account could be used to fund the processing of Y or Z visas under Titles IV and VI of S. 1639, S. 1639 appears to require that the trigger mechanisms be funded first. Receiving, processing, and adjudicating applications for the Z visa authorized by Title VI of the Act is one of the trigger mechanisms outlined in Section 1; this means that funding from the Immigration Security Account could be used for this purpose. Section 2(C) would allow DHS to expend any funds remaining after the trigger mechanisms have been fullyfunded on certain activities, including theimplementation of the programs authorized in Titles IV and VI of the Act. Thus, it appears that funding for the Y visa (and other programs) authorized by Title IV of the Act could only be made available through the Immigration Security Account once the trigger mechanisms had been met. However, S. 1639 does not explicitly stipulate whether the certification required bySection 1 would have to take place prior to fundingbeing made available for the additional purposes outlined in Section 2(C).

2:20pm update. Sessions and Vitter continue to blow the whistle on the crummy process. Here’s the latest wire coverage of the battle on the Senate floor.

Reid is back up, pointing out that he has the “concurrence of the president.” Yes, that is the problem, isn’t it?

Oh, gag. Ted Kennedy asks Reid if it is his understandinng that shamnesty will result in the strongest southern border in history. Why, yes, Reid says, yes, it is!


1:49pm update. Cornyn takes the floor. “This immigration bill is leaving all of us with a sense of deja vu. We’ve been here before and strangely, not much has changed…The condition under which we’re allowed to speak now only allows us to speak, but not be so presumptious as to offer amendments.” (Someone hands him the newly-drafted clay pigeon package.) “I just got the 400-page monstrosity (holds it up)…look forward to reading it.” Points out again that he is constrained by Grand Schemers from bringing up amendments.

1:13pm update. Webb amendment tabled. Sen. Sessions back on the floor: “The process has not been a pretty one to date. Senators do not have copies of the newly-drafted clay pigeon amendment…The procedure that the majority leader has chosen–he has chosen to utilize a procedure never before used in this Senate. That procedure will allow Sen. Reid to approve every amendment that will be offered to this legislation. If it’s not a part of his clay pigeon, you’re not in…He picks the amendments. That has never happened in history before.” Sessions signals that they have procedural moves in mind to try and stop this. “What would Paul Wellstone say? Or Jesse Helms?”…I object to that process. Sessions is waging a full-frontal assault on the shamnesty bill–economic, border security, historical failures. Mocks the “Masters of the Universe” behind the grand scheme. Rips the bogus triggers and phony fencing promises.

12:55pm update. Hutchison amendment killed. Now there’s a vote on Webb amendment.

12:01pm. More squabbling about process. Sen. DeMint wants to reserve the right to object. Reid won’t let him reserve the right to object. DeMint: “How many rules are we gonna change?” DeMint loses. Vote on the Hutchison touchback amendment now underway.

11:48am. Dianne Feinstein is proposing an amendment. Harry Reid asks that it be waived and interjects to make a point about the $4.4 billion security funding sweetener.

Feinstein now speaking in opposition to Hutchison’s touchback amendment. “Who will report to deport?” Hutchison responds that the offer of a secure ID included in the shamnesty bill is the incentive.

Sorry, Sen. Hutchison. It’s a fraud.

11:41am. Sen. Sessions is up. Sen. Reid says he knows what’s in the bill. Neither he nor any other senator has read what’s in this amendment. He says he wants to make us happy. How about making the American people happy? They’re using every parliamentary trick — some that have never been used — to move this bill forward….Make no mistake about what’s being done here…amendments will be blocked…the power to control this process is in the majority leader’s hands. It’s never been done like this before. This is an unprecedented step, a step by which the leadership is creating a new tactic that will eliminate the ability of individual senators to propose amendments and engage in debate.

New video : Jim DeMint fights to keep Reid and Company from railroading the debate.

11:35am update: Vitter notes that a brand, new mega-amendment is going to be dropped. He is asking for a morning business adjournment for time to read the whole damned thing. (My words, not his.)

Reid responds: This is not new. Changes are “minor.” He offers to sit down with Vitter to tell him what’s in the revised package.

Vitter objects to depending on the other side to tell him what’s in the package.

Reid deflects blame again to Republicans. “This is a process. I have really tried to be fair, not tried to take advantage of anyone, tried to be as candid with people who support as with people who oppose.”

Cue the violins. Get out the Kleenex.


Courtesy of NRO:



Originally posted June 27, 2007, 11:31 am

Ok, I’m switching gears from the Fairness Watch back to Shamnesty Watch. Debate over the “clay pigeon” package has been ongoing. Jim Geraghty blogs Jim Webb’s statement. Now, Harry Reid and David Vitter are bantering about word changes.

Meantime, word from the Hill:

The Senate is in a bit of a holding pattern right now with regards to the “clay pigeon” amendment. Last night after Reid finally unveiled his “clay pigeon,” conservatives objected to expediting the debate and that gave folks a little time to examine the 373 page document. Now “grand-bargainers” are redrafting the clay pigeon amendment. It is not yet clear how much they will change the document we were introduced to only yesterday, but it is certain that they are changing it to correct a myriad of mistakes.

Apparently the clay pigeon wasn’t ready for prime-time.

So again, we wait for another massive new amendment that nobody will have the opportunity to see ahead of time. Yet the Senate is still expected to clear this monstrosity tomorrow.

Quin Hillyer says keep your hopes up and your eyes on the ball:

According to Insider(s), Burr, Brownback, Gregg, Nelson of Nebraska, and Webb are VERY good targets for switching against cloture (or perhaps not being there, which amounts to the same thing). Pryor, Bond, and Coleman are other serious possibilities. I am told, too, that Barbara Boxer remains decidedly unhappy with the bill, and is still a definite possibility to switch to the anti-cloture, anti-amnesty side. Others to watch are Collins and Snowe of Maine, who I had counted as lost causes but who apparently still might be open to persuasion.

Video: The indefatigable Laura Ingraham rallies.

I missed this, but commenters say that Sen. Specter was on the floor and stated: “The will of the Senate will prevail.” Sounds very Specter-y.


Some context on the ongoing battle via an e-mail from Heritage Foundation analyst Brian Darling to The Corner’s Kathryn Lopez:

Someone once said not to watch how sausage or legislation are made. Today especially I prefer to be at the sausage factory.

As if the Senate floor situation could get any worse, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staff is now rewriting the Clay Pigeon amendment behind closed doors. It is the intent of the Majority Leader to bring this new unread Amendment up without the Republicans seeing the language. Yesterday Senator Reid did not have his massive 373 page amendment ready when he started debate on it and mistakes were made in the initial drafting. This fact was not discovered until Republicans objected to waiving the reading of the bill, and the Senate Clerk had nothing to read. Shockingly, Reid scrambled around, put the floor in morning business for a few hours, and then allowed Kennedy’s staff make final changes to the amendment. The language was finally made available around 5:30 pm and Reid “graciously” gave Republicans the night to go through it before moving to it this morning.


This morning Republicans announced that Reid’s amendment did not include the Sessions EITC provision in the touchback section, despite the fact that all previously passed amendments were supposed to be incorporated in the bill and the Clay Pigeon amendment. This oversight is the only mistake so far found, yet there may be other mistakes and intentional omissions in the 373 page amendment. This morning Reid put the floor back in morning business and sent his staff off to rewrite the mega amendment once again. Today, “the most deliberative body in the world,” is left to debate legislation that they do not have a copy of…

Like Hot Air’s Allahpundit says: Craptastic.


WashTimes web exclusive: Let the forging begin!

The head of a Mexican forgery ring was convinced he could make phony documents that illegal aliens could use to indicate fraudulently that they were eligible for a new amnesty, says a government affidavit recounting wiretapped phone calls the man made.

Julio Leija-Sanchez, who ran a $3 million-a-year forgery operation before he was arrested in April, was expecting Congress to pass a legalization program, which he called “amnesty,” and said he could forge documents to fool the U.S. government into believing illegal aliens were in the country in time to qualify for amnesty, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent said in the affidavit.

In recounting a wiretapped telephone conversation, ICE agent Jason E. Medica said he heard Mr. Leija-Sanchez tell an associate the forgery ring could “fix his papers” to meet the requirements of a legalization program such as the bill the Senate is debating today.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Amnesty