Immigration Bill Passes the Senate, but the Coalition Is Weaker Than It Looks

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 27 2013 4:27 PM

68-32: Immigration Bill Passes the Senate. But the Coalition Is Weaker Than It Looks.

Sen. Jerry Moran, pictured here at the 2011 Country Stampede in Manhattan, Kan., voted in favor of immigration reform Thursday before correcting himself.

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

The fight to stop the immigration bill in the Senate ended with a whimper. Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee who'd spent countless hours fighting the bill, had been bested a few times this week. He threw in the towel. "I have hope for a better bill coming out of conference committee," he said. He would give his debate time to the Democrats: "As far as I know, no one on my side wants it."

It was on to the vote, which took place with senators seated at their desk and rising to state their preference. (That hasn't happened since the party-line Obamacare vote of December 2009.) Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said "aye," then corrected himself—smart move, for the chairman of the NRSC. And despite a warning from Vice President Biden (who was presiding), a crowd in the gallery celebrated the vote with shouts of "YES WE CAN." They were ushered out of the Capitol, in a nice little preview of what the House would do when the bill arrived.


So the coalition fell two votes short of the 70 Chuck Schumer had wanted. There's a strange momentum to these things—the fact that nearly one in three Republicans endorsed the bill makes it "bipartisan," which provides an oomph Obamacare and the stimulus never had. But an immigration bill had passed the Senate in 2006, too. That vote was 62-36, with 21 Republican "ayes." Six of those "aye" senators—Bob Bennett, Sam Brownback, Larry Craig, Chuck Hagel, Arlen Specter and George Voinovich—have been replaced by senators who voted no today.

The 14 Republican ayes, with the years they're next up for election—you know, for all of you potential primary challengers.

Lamar Alexander (2014)
Kelly Ayotte (2016)
Jeff Chiesa (never—he's a temporary replacement)
Susan Collins (2014)
Bob Corker (2018)
Jeff Flake (2018)
Lindsey Graham (2014)
Orrin Hatch (2018)
Dean Heller (2018)
John Hoeven (2016)
Mark Kirk (2016)
John McCain (2016)
Lisa Murkowski (2016)
Marco Rubio (2016)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.