Republicans Refuse to Support DREAM Act Imperiling Important Procedural First Vote

With a vote on the motion to proceed to Defense Re-Authorization coming as early as Tuesday, Republican Senators have indicated that they would not vote to move forward because the legislation contains The DREAM Act and other controversial amendments.

J. Taylor Rushing of The Hill has the full story here.

Among the Republicans who will not vote to proceed, Senator Lindsay Graham (NC) has become an outspoken critic of passing the legislation as an amendment to the Defense Re-Authorization bill.

“This is rank politics,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has previously been an ally to Democrats on immigration reform. “There’s no way I’m going to vote for the DREAM Act in isolation on the defense bill. And if they think I’m the problem, they’re wrong. I will support good, comprehensive immigration reform, but not like this.”

Republican Senator Robert Bennett (UT) feels similarly on the issue:

“I support the DREAM Act as free standing legislation, but putting it in a bill that has a number of objectionable aspects is not something I support,” Bennett said in a statement. “If [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] brings it to the floor as a stand-alone bill, I will vote for it.”

Add Senator John Cornyn (TX) to that list. Despite the fact that he represents a state that is 36.9% Hispanic and has constituents who would benefit from the DREAM Act, he too opposes the bill:

“I’m for comprehensive reform, and it’s a mistake just to carve out one little piece of that and pass it independently,” Cornyn said. “Frankly, that’s one of the most sympathetic portions of immigration reform, and I’ve always thought it’s one of the engines that helps pull the train when it comes to other aspects of the issue. If it passes as a stand-alone, it will take the wind out of the sails to do other things we need to do on immigration.”

Republicans are not alone in being skittish about passing the DREAM Act key Democrats have indicated that they are not sure how they will vote on the legislation:

Democrats helped block the bill three years ago when it fell eight votes short on a procedural motion. While some Republicans supported that motion, eight Democrats voted no, including the late Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.) and Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.).

Five of those senators — Conrad, Dorgan, McCaskill, Pryor and Landrieu — told The Hill this week they haven’t made up their minds about this week’s vote.


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