June 7, 2007

An Amendment Too Far

All this week, Republicans have tried to find a "killer amendment" that would fracture the coalition supporting the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate. Ironically, it may have come from a Democrat, as the Senate surprisingly approved Byron Dorgan's amendment to end the guest-worker program after five years:

A fragile compromise that would legalize millions of unlawful immigrants risks coming unraveled after the Senate voted early Thursday to place a five-year limit on a program meant to provide U.S. employers with 200,000 temporary foreign workers annually.

The 49-48 vote came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected the same amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill.

The reversal dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is supported by President Bush but loathed by many conservatives. Business interests and their congressional allies were already angry that the temporary worker program had been cut in half from its original 400,000-person-a-year target.

A five-year sunset, they said, could knock the legs from the precarious bipartisan coalition aligned with the White House. The Dorgan amendment "is a tremendous problem, but it's correctable," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. The coalition will try as early as Thursday to persuade at least one senator to help reverse the outcome yet again, he said.

The amendment not only came from a Democrat, it passed with mostly Democratic votes. Eleven Republicans voted to support the amendment, only a portion of the bill's GOP opponents:

Bunning (R-KY)
Corker (R-TN)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)

Amusingly, these ten voted in support of the labor unions. Dorgan drafted the bill to protect the interests of the unions, who see the guest worker program as a threat to their members. After all, temporary workers will have little leverage for collective bargaining, especially since the workforce turns over every two years. That's why Dorgan's amendment has the support of Senators like Barbara Boxer, Carl Levin, and Chuck Schumer.

The compromise coalition will pressure at least some of these Senators to reverse themselves starting today. One of the first people who will feel it will be Chris Dodd. He missed the vote and the opportunity to stop the amendment with a tie vote. They may go after one of the rookies, like Jon Tester of Montana, where business interests in a guest-worker program may have more impact than on a Barbara Boxer.

The day had gone well for the coalition before this. They had turned back a number of amendments that would have stopped the momentum for the immigration reform bill, including one by Barack Obama to sunset the points-based immigration review system. A more troubling rejection was the vote against David Vitter's amendment to add a trigger for the biometric border security system. That system should have been implemented by 2005, but it has been delayed. That amendment lost by a single vote, even though it seems odd that such a requirement would have ended the coalition. Yet, the Republicans in the coalition voted against it, including Jon Kyl, Lindsay Graham, john McCain, and Arlen Specter.

It looks as though it all may be moot. Unless the coalition can force another vote on the Dorgan amendment, the bill is toast.


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Comments (7)

Posted by Realist | June 7, 2007 6:39 AM

Wise up, sheeple. The fix is in.

And remember:

Viva la raza!

Viva la reconquista!

Viva El Presidente Jorge bin Jorge al-Bush!

Islam is a religion of peace!

Allahu akbar!

Posted by Bill Faith | June 7, 2007 6:42 AM

"Amusingly, these ten voted in support of the labor unions." ... "Unless the coalition can force another vote on the Dorgan amendment, the bill is toast." Jeff Sessions is nobody's fool. If Tennessee and Alabama weren't so close to each other I'd say he'd be a wonderful running mate for Fred Thompson. I just added a link to my 2006.06.07 "No Illegal Left Behind" Roundup.

Posted by RG | June 7, 2007 6:46 AM

Could it be the Senate monkeys hear the anger of the American people and are considering our views, instead of Mexico City's and La Raza's?

Keep calling DC today!! It' s not dead yet. These old, rich monkeys want their Mestizo maids, gardeners and other near-slave labor.

Chain (family) migration MUST be reduced otherwise, the USA will go down quickly, sunk by an elite political class and a dumbed-down, low-skill, retail oriented society.

No longer a nation of independent men and women but a balkanized, multilingual, economic "region".

Posted by Ludwig | June 7, 2007 7:21 AM

t"he USA will go down quickly, sunk by an elite political class and a dumbed-down, low-skill, retail oriented society. "

funny...i thought thats where we were at right now?

Posted by Joe Doe | June 7, 2007 7:21 AM

Wishful thinking - as long as the president is on la raza payroll, along with the elected 40 thieves under his command, this amnesty is sure to pass. Amendaments are just smokes and mirrors to pretend that they really matter and there are real concerns for the taxpayers that would not do the jobs ...- these ammendaments do not matter at all, if they would why the current law is unenforceable? But it gives people hope that not all is lost and helps transitioning America to a first-class gated community habitat within a third-world jungle without having the masses demonstrating on the street (except president's people - in support of Mexic gaining its rightful lands and some more as a pay-back).

El presidente is just worried about his ... LEGACY - in case you wonder how one can be so stupid. The 8-year royalty power would blind most of the average people, why would not do it for a sub-average avorton? The House of Thieves is another matter altogether - just conducting the higher bidder contest for ammendaments, see who can give them more - Chinese, Indians, the Religion of Peace, La Raza, Labor Unions - the bid is open, as well as the realization that the People of the USA are already debt-ridden and cannot contribute anymore.

Hope - there is none whatsoever. Start building walls around your house if you can, the state will not give a damn about you and your vote. As for the piece of legislation that will forever mark the death of America - is a done deal, they are just working on selecting the right wrapping paper so the ticking bomb will at least look gourgeos - as any LEGACY should.

Posted by Maverick Muse | June 7, 2007 8:21 AM

Joe Doe,
Hope aside, remember the Alamo.

Survival preparation may well be wise. But walking away from the fight when YOUR SUPPORT is necessary in order to hold ground is not wise. Everyone must persistently contact your representatives today to defeat another amnesty fiasco. It doesn't cost you a thing to make yourself heard, so DO IT, again and again.

Posted by JM Hanes | June 7, 2007 11:36 AM

I'm not exactly sure where Senator Dole is going on this. North Carolina is among the top destinations for illegal immigrants, and Dole has always taken a quasi-isolationist stance on labor issues, so in some ways, her vote on this particular amendment is not entirely surprising. Her website provides the following statement:

I recognize that immigration reform is urgently needed, but I cannot support the current bill being considered in the Senate because it creates a new path to citizenship for those here illegally. While this bill includes some good measures – such as modifying the broken H-2A system for farmers to obtain legal workers – the amnesty this bill provides is a deal-breaker for me.
I feel as though there's something counterintuitive going on here, I'm just not sure what. Could it be significant that her anti-amnesty position includes no mention of enforcement?