US Senate Watch - Cloture on Amnesty Bill passes
now "fast-tracked" towards passage
By Carolyn Cormey
June 26th, 2007 the Senate Leader Harry Reid scheduled Cloture votes on two very important, high visibility Bills for around noon, that he and most of the Democrats in the Majority Party wanted to pass supported by a small number of Republicans. Harry scheduled the Cloture votes for each of these bills, one right after the other. The Senate Convened at 10 a.m. and he allowed less than two hours total for Senators to discuss their concerns about either of these controversial bills before they had to vote on Cloture for the first Bill just before noon. Immediately after the Cloture vote on the first bill was tallied, Senator Reid called for the Cloture vote on the second bill. It was all done by about 12:30 in time for the Senators to "go to lunch!"
We are now aware of a huge problem that may allow inferior or special interest legislation to pass without the safeguards of the full legislative process. Each of these very important pieces of legislation was written by a "coalition" of a few Senators and then procedures were put in place to abbreviate the Senate legislative process, not permitting either Bill to go to Committee where pending legislation is carefully examined for unintended consequences and where other Senators (not in the small coalition of Senators writing the legislation) can give their input, to make corrections. An even bigger problem has now surfaced - our elected US Senators have allowed this abbreviated legislative process to happen so now, controlling the "process" has become more important than the fixing the content of our most important legislation. It is all about power and control and those special interest groups and corporate donors who influence - with voters only allowed to participate every six years at a Senator's election.
The First Cloture Vote: shortly before noon
The first Cloture Vote was called for on this Bill and it failed to pass. - 51 Senators voted for it and 48 Senators voted against it. Even though a majority of our Senators voted for this bill, it did not get the 60 votes Cloture requires. Florida US Senator Nelson voted for Cloture and Florida US Senator Martinez voted against Cloture. There is no further actions planned on this Bill at this time.
The Second Cloture Vote, finished before 12:30
The Cloture Vote for this Amnesty Bill was called for shortly after noon. It passed, receiving more than the 60 required votes to pass a Cloture vote, a total of 64 Senators voting in favor and 35 Senators voting against it. Both our Florida US Senators - Nelson (Democrat) and Martinez (Republican) voted in favor of Cloture on this Bill and are fully expected to vote for in favor of the final passage of this bill, (like they did for the 2006 Amnesty Bill) regardless of the overwhelming Florida constituents who are against the passage of this particular flawed bill, at this time.
Our elected US Senators have now put this Amnesty Legislation on a clear pathway towards the final vote to pass this Bill, where it will take the votes of just 50 Senators to pass it. Senate Leaders will now analyze this vote. Making certain that they maintain control of the 50 Senate votes to pass this Bill, the Leaders can/will "release" up to 14 Senators who are up for election next year in States where constituent voters are overwhelmingly against providing amnesty - allowing these incumbent Senators to insure their re-election by voting against the final passage of this Bill to "pacify" their constituents, without endangering the final passage of this Bill.
Sixty-four (64) of our elected US Senators have now put this Amnesty Bill on a clear pathway towards final passage, abdicating their responsibility to make any changes to this Bill to the small "coalition" of Senators and Senate Leaders (counseled by certain special interest groups) who have controlled and directed this Bill all the way through. In voting for Cloture - the 64 Senators understood before their vote that they would be voting for the "procedures" that were already announced and in place to "fast track" this Bill to final passage. Before they voted, they knew that all boundaries were planned and in place to limit "debate," fully controlled and defined. The Bill number has been changed and all the amendments/proposals that were approved under the previous Bill number are now being lumped together as a single amendment to be debated and voted on. The 30 hours allowed for Senate action between the Cloture Vote and the final vote - will then be taken up by debating only the "pieces" of this huge amendment, under a "clay pigeon" procedure. Any further discoveries of problems in this Bill discovered in the last two weeks - will not be addressed by amendment to this Bill. Of course, as happened when passing the 2006 Amnesty Senate Bill, a "Manager's' amendment will be slipped in at the last minute to "gut" from the bill whatever remains that is contrary to the vision of the small Senate Coalition, the Senate Leaders and the Special Interest Groups who have influenced them.
Senators who voted for Cloture and will vote to pass this Bill - just want it over with, off the Senate Floor and out of the nightly news, putting as much time as possible between their votes on this Bill and their next election. They believe that once this amnesty issue is not on the news each evening - constituents will forget and move on. Senators Nelson and Martinez - do you think that we voters will forget?
Call the Capitol Switchboard to leave a message with your Senator and also begin to leave messages with your US House Representative - because this Amnesty Bill cannot become law until the House also passes it. The Capitol Switchboard phone number is 202-224-3121.
Senator Florida Senator Bill Nelson did vote in favor of the Amendment to the 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Bill to make English our National Language.
Return to Current Edition