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of those "aye" senators—Bob Bennett, Sam Brownback, Larry Craig, Chuck Hagel, Arlen Specter and George Voinovich—have been replaced by senators who voted no today.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 reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

America’s Fears of Immigration, Terrorism, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.