Friday, April 07, 2006

Down Goes The Immigration Bill

The legislation that Senators were working on in order to crack down on illegal immigration will have to take a back seat for now. The compromise failed to gain enough votes to move forward in its process of becoming legislation:

The Senate sidetracked sweeping immigration legislation Friday amid partisan recriminations, leaving in doubt prospects for passage of a measure that offered the hope of citizenship to millions of men, women and children living in the United States illegally.

The bill gained only 38 votes on a key procedural test, far short of the 60 needed to advance.

The vote marked a turnabout from Thursday, when the Senate's two leaders had both hailed a last-minute compromise as a breakthrough in the campaign to enact the most far-reaching changes in immigration law in two decades.

But Republicans soon accused Democrats of trying to squelch their amendments, while Democrats accused the GOP of trying to kill their own bill by filibuster.

The obstructionism of the Democrats is obvious here. The Dems refused to debate on all of the specific pieces of the bill, insisting that it instead go through as a weak "compromise" without further input from the senators. They refused to debate the issue of a fence --which we need-- and instead sought an "as is" passage of the bill.

But after what we saw with the Supreme Court confirmation process, we shouldn't be surprised by the stalling tactics of the Dems. However, the only way to break such tactics is with a strong and committed GOP majority. At the moment we do not have that. Instead, we have senators like John McCain and others of the Gang of 14 who cave in on nearly every issue that matters.

It's time that the Republican senators figure out what a great opportunity they have if they would only stick together. The GOP must be firm on immigration. With a majority in both houses of Congress and control of the White House, there is no excuse for the kind of capitulation we've seen from the GOP. Unless the majority party starts acting like it and standing up for what it claims to be its agenda, it will suffer in the upcoming mid-term elections.

And that can hardly be seen as a desirable result. Would you really trust the future of America to a Majority Leader Reid?

I wouldn't.