Historic Vote on Immigration Could Come Thursday

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallBREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The Senate voted to invoke cloture on the immigration bill Thursday, the final step before a vote on the full plan, which will take place this afternoon. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., was in the chair when the 68-32 vote was called at 12:39 p.m. Developing…

(WASHINGTON) — After months of negotiations, amendments and debate, the Senate seems ready to move forward and pass historic immigration reform legislation.

Thursday morning on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he’s hoping for a vote on the full immigration bill late Thursday afternoon or evening, saying, “There is no reason after these votes today to delay this.”

“We’re poised to pass a historic immigration bill.  It’s landmark legislation that will secure our borders and help 11 million people get right with the law,” Reid said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would not vote for the plan and predicted it would not pass the House of Representatives in its current form.  But he argued that the current immigration bill before the Senate highlights the importance of strengthening the border and called it the key to achieving immigration reform.

“The path to actually making a law is fairly clear at this point.  Success on immigration reform runs through the border,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

The bill, originally drafted by a bipartisan group of senators called the Gang of Eight in mid-April, would grant 11 million undocumented immigrants immediate legal status and a path to earned citizenship while sending $30 billion to the southern border in what has become known as a “border surge,” or militarization of the southern frontier.

The amendment — by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn. — which requires a doubling of border patrol agents, fencing, drones and sensors, was officially added to the legislation on Wednesday.

It was added as a compromise with Republicans. The bill is expected to pass with as many as 69 bipartisan votes.

The border security measures added in the amendment would be “triggers” that would have to be achieved before citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants could be granted.

The Congressional Budget Office announced last week that the legislation would boost the economy by increasing the gross domestic product by 3.3 percent by the year 2023, and by 5.4 percent by 2033.  The CBO said it would also lower the federal deficit by $197 billion over the first 10 years, and $700 billion over the next 20 years.

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