One of our members called this morning wanting the list of Senators in the 'amnesty bubble' -- those who are most susceptible to changing their action on the potential amnesty vote in early 2010. Those of us who made it to the office in the middle of the DC blizzard shutdown today came up with this list of one-third of the U.S. Senators.
Below are the one of every three Senators where your pressure could be the most influential and crucial.
If you are wondering where your phone calls and other efforts are the most important in keeping the giant amnesty bill from coming to a vote, these are your lists.
PRO-AMNESTY SENATORS FELL 14 VOTES SHORT IN 2007
Let's start with the fact that the U.S. Senate on June 28, 2007 voted 46-53 on a cloture motion to end the filibuster on the Bush/Kennedy amnesty.
That means massive constituency pressure achieved a majority vote (53) for our side during a time of low unemployment (but of stagnant wages for most working-class Americans).
It also means that the pro-amnesty Senators were 14 votes short of the 60 needed to stop the filibuster and allow a vote to pass the amnesty.
Those of us fighting to protect the economic interests of 15 million jobless Americans must concentrate on keeping the pro-amnesty forces from adding 14 more votes.
Although most Senators are not running for re-election next year and are expected to be relatively immune from constituents asking them to deviate from what their Party leaders ask them to do, most of the people in the groups listed below are being pulled in both directions and are most open to your input.
'BUBBLE SENATORS' WHO COULD CLOSE THE 14-VOTE GAP AND PASS AN AMNESTY
Here are 23 votes the amnesty did NOT get last time that could switch in 2010.
- 15 Democrats defied their Party leadership in 2007 and voted AGAINST the amnesty. How many of them will again courageously stand for American workers and how many will switch sides in favor of illegal foreign workers and the outlaw businesses that hire them? If all 15 follow their Party leaders and turn against us (and nothing else changes), the amnesty would pass.
- 7 Democrats since the 2007 vote have replaced 7 Republicans who voted AGAINST the amnesty. Will they come to see that the voters of their state expect their Senators -- regardless of Party affiliation -- to continue to oppose amnesty ? Or will they feel that their higher loyalty is to the Democratic Party leaders and their desire for millions more legal workers to compete against unemployed Americans?
- 1 Democrat who was up for re-election in 2007 didn't vote because of illness. His state is solidly against the amnesty, but he usually goes with the Party leadership and doesn't face re-election for five more years.
A CHANCE TO PICK UP VOTES AGAINST AMNESTY FROM THESE 'BUBBLE SENATORS'
Here are 15 votes that the amnesty got last time which possibly could be turned into a NO vote in 2010.
- 7 Republicans who followed Pres. Bush and voted FOR the amnesty in 2007 remain in office. Now that there are no Party leaders strong-arming FOR the amnesty, will some of these 7 Republicans rejoin the rest of their Party and oppose it?
- 4 new Republican Senators have replaced Republican Senators who voted FOR the amnesty in 2007. What is the chance of moving those votes over into the AGAINST column?
- 2 of the Democrats who voted FOR the amnesty in 2007 have been replaced by new Democrats who are facing contested elections next fall. Can they come to feel that opposing an amnesty would be a better re-election strategy?
- 2 other Democrats who voted FOR the amnesty in 2007 are up for re-election next fall and behind in the polls. Can the voters in their states persuade them that approving an amnesty would be bad for their chances of staying in the Senate.
NOW, THE NAMES
15 courageous Democrats who stood against their Party & Amnesty and FOR American Workers in 2007
We desperately have to hold the majority of these on our side.
- Baucus (Mont.)
- Bayh (Ind.)
- Bingaman (New Mexico)
- Brown (Ohio)
- Byrd (W.Va.)
- Dorgan (North Dakota)
- Harkin (Iowa)
- Landrieu (La.)
- McCaskill (Mo.)
- Nelson (Neb.)
- Pryor (Ark.)
- Rockefeller (W.Va.)
- Stabenow (Mich.)
- Tester (Mont.)
- Webb (Va.)
Many of those 15 were facing re-election bids in 2008 and were most interested in how strongly the voters in their states felt about amnesty.
But in 2010, only Bayh and Dorgan of these 15 are facing an election. Voters have far less leverage on them this year. (And most of the Democrats who ARE up for re-election voted YES on amnesty and are considered in safe seats.)
Still, if these 15 Democrats were willing to oppose an amnesty and an increase in future authorized workers in 2007 during a time of low unemployment, shouldn't they feel even more pressure to stick with that position during 10% unemployment?
Only if people like you keep reminding them!
How many of these 15 can we keep on our side? The answer will be almost entirely up to constituent pressure.
7 Democrats who since the 2007 vote have replaced 7 Republicans who voted AGAINST the amnesty
We seriously need to pick up at least 3 of these.
- Begich (Alaska) -- defeated Stevens (R)
- Franken (Minn.) -- defeated Coleman (R)
- Hagan (N.C.) -- defeated Dole (R)
- Merkley (Ore.) -- defeated Smith (R)
- Shaheen (N.H.) -- defeated Sununu (R)
- Udall (Colo.) -- replaced Allard (R) who retired
- Mark Warner (Va.) -- replaced John Warner (R) who retired
The pro-amnesty groups did a lot of crowing over the last year about the fact that these 7 anti-amnesty Republican Senators were replaced by 7 Democrats who presumably were pro-amnesty.
There is no question that these 7 show strong interest in toeing the Democratic leadership line on helping some 8 million illegal aliens keep their jobs permanently and to increase the future flow of new authorized foreign workers, while weakening enforcement against illegal immigration.
You can be sure, though, that none of these campaigned openly on that platform.
Can you imagine a candidate standing in front of home-state crowds and saying that illegal aliens should have priority for local jobs over unemployed voters of the state?
And with unemployment likely to remain near 10% at the time of next November's election, all of these Senators could be helped by voters over the next few months to at least acknowledge that this is not the time for the comprehensive amnesty bill.
But it will take an incredible amount of constituent pressure to persuade these 7 that their interests lie on the side of unemployed Americans and not with the illegal foreign workers.
Only Udall (who came from the House) has any real sense how hot the fury from the electorate can be if they promote more foreign workers and an amnesty for illegal aliens. It is time they start feeling it.
1 Democrat was up for re-election in 2007 and didn't vote because of illness
Can we keep him from putting his vote on the wrong side?
- Johnson (South Dakota)
His state is solidly against the amnesty, but he usually goes with the Party leadership and doesn't face re-election for five more years. Unless the people of South Dakota make this personal with the Senator, he will gladly become one of the 14 new votes needed to pass the amnesty.
7 Republicans who followed Pres. Bush and voted FOR the amnesty in 2007 are still in office
With enough constituency pressure, we could bring all 7 of these over to our side of the vote.
- Bennett (Utah)
- Gregg (N.H.)
- Graham (S.C.)
- Kyl (Ariz.)
- Lugar (Ind.)
- McCain (Ariz.)
- Snowe (Maine)
Two of these are up for re-election:
Bennett faces intense opposition in next spring's Republican state convention, in part because of his pro-amnesty support of the past.
If McCain shows a strong amnesty position again, he is susceptible to an embarrassing Primary challenge, also.
Kyl used to be one of our best anti-mass-immigration allies but was strong-armed by Pres. Bush to come up with a compromise to gain passage of his amnesty. This seems like an excellent time for Kyl to return to his anti-amnesty friends. Snowe and Gregg show signs of Reid-fatigue and may not want to help the Senate Majority Leader push through his amnesty.
Only Lugar and Graham of these 7 seem hell-bent on helping the U.S. Chamber of Commerce keep labor markets as loose as possible in order to hold down all wages.
4 new Republican Senators have replaced Republican Senators who voted FOR the amnesty in 2007
It would be inexcusable not to pick up the votes of all 4 of these AGAINST amnesty.
- Johanns (Neb.) -- replaced Hagel (R) who retired
- LeMieux (Fla.) -- replaced Martinez (R) who retired
- Risch (Idaho) -- replaced Craig (R) who retired
- Wicker (Miss.) -- replaced Lott (R) who retired
All 4 of these have shown that they know immediately what their predecessor Republicans never figured out: pro-amnesty is an absolute political loser position in their states.
They need some positive reinforcement to help them become leaders in the anti-amnesty efforts on Capitol Hill.
2 of the Democrats who voted FOR the amnesty in 2007 have been replaced by new Democrats who are facing contested elections next fall
- Bennett (Colo.) -- replaced Salazar (D) who retired
- Gillibrand (N.Y.) -- replaced Clinton (D) who retired
Bennett is considered one of the most vulnerable of incumbents, having just been appointed this year. Gillibrand's appointment this year was no less controversial.
Unfortunately for us, both Senators face likely Primary opposition. If they think they have to protect their radical left-wing, they may become aggressive pro-amnesty supporters even though such a position will hurt them in the November General elections.
Both Senators need to hear from all of our Democratic and Independent members to help them understand that opposing amnesty and standing up for unemployed Coloradans and New Yorkers is just as much a liberal position as a centrist and conservative one.
2 other Democrats who voted FOR the amnesty in 2007 are up for re-election next fall, behind in the polls and fighting for their political lives
- Lincoln (Ark.)
- Reid (Nev.)
Arkansas voters are overwhelmingly opposed to an amnesty. Blanche Lincoln's fellow Democratic Senator in Arkansas, Mark Pryor, has stuck with Arkansas voters on this issue while Lincoln has curried favor with Senate Democratic leadership and voted consistently for illegal aliens and greedy cheap-labor business lobbyists. If Arkansas constituents can't help Lincoln change her position, they either aren't trying or Lincoln has a political suicide wish.
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is a different case. While he is in deep political danger, his commitment to foreign labor is so personal and stubborn that I can't imagine him ever voting against an amnesty. But I can imagine him deciding not to bring the amnesty to the floor for a vote in 2010.
The activist members of NumbersUSA -- along with many other Americans -- slapped Reid with one of the biggest embarrassments of his life in June of 2007 when Reid came up 14 votes short of passing his amnesty.
Many accounts suggest that he thought he was going to win that vote just two days earlier and still had hopes on the day of the vote. His clumsy vote counting was a humiliating experience for him and may account partly for why he is so emotional in promising to move the amnesty in this Congress. But if in back-room counting he can't come up with at least 55 of the 60 votes needed to pass an amnesty, I don't think he'll call a vote and humiliate himself again over this issue.
In the meantime, Nevada voters (particularly Democrats and Independents) need to help Reid understand that his pro-amnesty stance is an anchor pulling him down in the polls.
NET ADVANTAGE? THE PEOPLE HOLD THE POWER
In the big struggle over whether the pro-amnesty forces can gain a net of 14 votes, the victory is the people's to lose.
But if the people sit back and expect that these 38 Senators will primarily just do the right thing, an amnesty will pass. Tens of millions of dollars of contributions to the Senators and to pro-amnesty lobbyists ensure that the amnesty will pass without massive public opposition.
But with a concerted and steady public engagement with these 38 Senators, I don't see how we can fail. Then, the math works in our favor.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA