The Senate has voted to approve of the Immigration Bill they have drafted and allow the House to consider its proposal by a strong vote of 68-32. With 14 Republicans voting in favor, the Democratic leadership and the bipartisan group of eight senators who drafted the original bill seemed determined to savor the moment. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. presided over the vote as senators announced their positions from their desks, in a ceremonial procedure reserved for special occasions. The Senate bill provides a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country, as well as tough border security provisions that must be in place before the immigrants can gain legal status.
As the bill heads to the House, Republican elites and their well-financed pro-immigration groups are running up against opposition from the chamber’s most conservative members. Speaker John A. Boehner threw cold water on any hope that the House would vote on the Senate plan, and he insisted that whatever immigration measure his chamber took up would have to be supported by a majority of his Republican conference. “I issued a statement that I thought was pretty clear, but apparently some haven’t gotten the message: The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes,” he said Thursday morning. “We’re going to do our own bill.”
The legislation — drafted largely behind closed doors by the bipartisan group — brought together an unlikely coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business groups and labor unions, farmworkers and growers, and Latino, gay rights, and immigration advocates. Along the way, the legislation was shaped and tweaked by a series of backroom deals and negotiations that, in many ways, seemed to mirror its inception.
Now, however, all eyes are turned to the House. At a Congressional softball game Wednesday night, Mr. Schumer ran into Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader. Mr. Schumer, an aide recalled, told Ms. Pelosi that he thought the bipartisan group would be able to deliver 68 votes for the bill in the Senate — and that he wanted to talk about how to use that momentum to move forward in the House. It will be seen in the weeks to come how the House will take up the Senate bill in putting together a final comprehensive immigration bill that everyone is calling for and is truly needed to finally address these long standing issues.