Harry Reid said he’d shelve the bill if today’s cloture vote failed, which it did 33-63. Will Reid shelve the bill as promised? Nope. Another cloture vote is scheduled for 5:00pm tonight. Why? According to Bloomberg News, Reid is putting pressure on President Bush to strong arm the Republicans into voting for cloture later today.
The 33 votes to shut off debate were 27 short of the 60 needed by Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to bring to a conclusion debate on legislation to grant legal status to 12 million undocumented aliens. He said he would seek another vote later today.
Reid appealed to Bush to twist the arms of Republicans who voted against limiting debate, saying an inability to pass the legislation would produce headlines that the “president fails again.”
“This is the president’s bill. He has worked long and hard,” Reid said. “This bill that’s on the floor is not a Democratic bill, it is a bill that was worked on by Democrats and Republicans in cooperation with the president.”
Reid’s insistence that this is not a Democratic bill is laughable. Far more Democrats have fought for this bill than Republicans. Yes, President Bush has pushed for an immigration bill with a guest worker program for years, but he’s done so with many Republicans fighting him all the way. On the other hand, the Democrats themselves have been chomping at the bit to legalize the millions of illegals in this country. As we saw yesterday, Reid even went so far as to refer to the illegals in this country as “Twelve millions undocumented Americans.” The Democrats want this bill because they want these millions of illegals as future Democrat voters. Let’s not forget it was the Democrats who were distributing this flyer at a Dallas illegal immigration protest last year. So for Reid to now stand back and insist that he and the Democrats really weren’t behind this amnesty bill is disingenuous. The fact that Reid needs the President to pressure the Republicans to vote for cloture illustrates that it’s far more of a Democrat bill than a Republican bill.
So, we’ll see how well President Bush’s pressure tactic worked at 5:00pm today when the cloture vote happens again.
Added: As commenter Langtry reminds me, Bush is in Germany for the G8 summit, so he will have a heck of a time pressuring the Republicans to vote for cloture, and Reid knows this.
Update: Harry Reid voted for Byron Dorgan’s amendment that would sunset the guest worker program after five years. Allahpundit offers a couple possibilities why:
Is Reid trying to get the bill passed with a sunset provision on the anti-labor guest worker program, or is he trying to get the bill killed so that he can revisit this subject in a few years when he’s got a bigger majority in the Senate? If the latter, why not just shelve the thing now? (Possible answer: Because then blame for the bill’s failure falls squarely in the Democrats’ lap. Forcing the Republicans’ to filibuster it makes it more of a shared failure.)
Update II: If tonight’s cloture vote fails, Reid says the bill’s done. From NBC:
Moments ago in a off-camera briefing, Reid said if the vote failed again he’d pull the bill from the floor indefinitely saying, “the bill’s over with. The bill’s gone.” He never said it was dead, but indicated he clearly had other priorities to put before the Senate in the coming weeks.