Senate Passes Immigration Bill

They didn’t get the 70 votes they’d hoped for, but in the end it was 68-32, with 14 Republicans voting for it, plus all 52 Dems and 2 Independents.

But John Boehner said today that he will invoke the Hastert rule (nothing gets to the House floor unless approved by a majority of the majority) on any immigration bill that might emerge from a Conference Committee.  It tough to imagine a bill that would get a majority of the crazy Republicans in the House also getting approved by the Senate and signed by the Prez.  Any Conference bill that could pass the Senate would have to pass the House with mostly Dems and a few R’s.

Rubio Gives Up

If Marco Rubio strikes you as weak, that’s because he really is.  Politics and policy aside, he’s never struck me as tough enough to be prez.  There’s something soft and doughy, cry-baby and scaredy-cat, about him.   You could see it in his eyes when he lunged for that water bottle during his response to the SOTU.  Hell, you can see it in his eyes any time he’s interviewed, even when it’s fawning Sean Hannity, for God’s sake.  We’re talking ciervo-in-the-headlights, people.

Anyway, today Rubio admitted to conservative radio talker Mike Gallagher that the immigration bill Rubio and his fellow Gang of Eight members have drafted doesn’t have a prayer in the House.  Way to get GOP votes in the Senate, Marco, by declaring your bill DOA in the other chamber.

The thing is, if the bill passes the Senate, it could well pass the House with mostly Dem votes if Boehner doesn’t invoke the “Hastert Rule”* and brings it to the floor.

I think Rubio is realizing that the “path to citizenship” and the path to the GOP nomination don’t converge, and he’s trying to avoid that Gang of Eight stench by destroying their work.


*  Only bills supported by a majority of the majority party get a vote.

How It Looks to the Country

As we wait to see what, if anything, Reid and McConnell concoct today on the fiscal cliff they helped build, here’s how it looks to a normal person who isn’t a member of Congress.  It looks as if the GOP is saying, “Heads we win, tails you lose.”

The Dems have a majority in the Senate, and should be able to pass something without any GOP votes, but if there’s a filibuster, a majority isn’t good enough, you need 60 votes, and therefore GOP support.  So the GOP can block a vote in the Senate even though they are a minority.

Turning to the House, although the Dems are in the minority, they should be able to pass something by getting their members, plus about 10% of the GOP members.  But just as McConnell can prevent something from coming to a vote, so can Boehner refuse to bring the bill to the floor.  He can invoke the Hastert Rule, which holds that nothing comes up for a vote in the House unless it’s supported by a majority of the majority.    So Boehner can prevent a bill from passing with mostly Dem and some GOP support.

The GOP can certainly work its will here, but it’s a tyrannous will that goes against what the country clearly wants and needs.