What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : S 1348. (Immigration overhaul) Motion to limit debate on the measure/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 204)
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S 1348. (Immigration overhaul) Motion to limit debate on the measure/On the motion
senate Roll Call 204     Jun 07, 2007
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After nearly two weeks of plowing through amendments, most of them offered unsuccessfully by Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called a cloture vote to bring debate on a large immigration bill to a close and move the Senate toward a final vote on the bill. This vote was on the second such cloture motion Reid offered; the first was unsuccessful.

This vote occurred on an attempt to bring debate on a bill to a close (known as a "cloture motion" in the Senate). If the Senate votes to "invoke cloture" – or bring debate to a close – then lawmakers must either hold a vote on the legislation or amendment in question, or move on to other business. This type of motion is most often called on contentious bills or amendments where the leadership is concerned that consideration could be held up indefinitely by a handful of unhappy politicians. It was the second such attempt by Democrats to limit debate on the bill (the prior motion failed).

The motion was called on a bill that represented a bipartisan compromise reached between Democrats and Republicans on changing immigration policies.

The bill represents a hard-won compromise between competing sides of the immigration debate: those who want to give the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants a chance to legitimize their residency either temporarily or permanently, and those who want to tighten security along America's border with Mexico. To that end, the bill would establish several new visas that allow immigrants to work temporarily or put them onto a path to citizenship. But for these visas to be activated, the government must first certify that several other initiatives intended to strengthen America's border included in the underlying bill have been implemented.

Republicans complained bitterly that Democrats had not allowed them enough time to offer all the amendments they wanted, while Democrats answered that they had days in which to offer amendments and that it was time to wrap things up.

"Republicans are going to need more amendments. We have had 12 roll call votes on our side of the aisle on this bill to date. I think, at a very minimum, we need to have the same number of Republican roll call votes on this bill we had last year. I think we can get there. We are not going to get there by shutting off additional important and worthwhile amendments on this side of the aisle," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., answered that Republicans are doing little more than engaging in delaying tactics, and that even after cloture is invoked Republicans will have an extra 30 hours in which to offer and debate amendments.

"Everyone should know, we are going to have another cloture vote this early evening. We are going to process as many amendments, in the meantime, as we can," Reid said.

The Senate again rejected the motion to end debate, by a vote of 34-61. Republicans were unanimous in voting against the motion. Most Democrats voted for it, though 13 voted against it. Independents were split, with Joe Lieberman of Connecticut voting for the motion to end debate, and progressive Bernie Sanders of Vermont voting against it. Progressive Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., also voted against ending debate. Both Boxer and Sanders spoke vigorously against portions of the underlying bill that would allow more temporary workers, believing it would harm the American workforce. And earlier during debate on the bill, both Boxer and Sanders offered amendments seeking to strike or water down these provisions (both failed). Thus, cloture was not invoked and debate on the immigration bill continued.

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