For two years, we have heard that if House Speaker Pelosi allowed a vote on the DREAM Act amnesty that it would sail through her 60% majority chamber.
But tonight while pulling out all the emotional stops, the House Democratic leadership lost 38 of its Members (who voted NO) and managed to narrowly pass the DREAM Act amnesty with only 52% of the vote.
Of course, that was enough. The House only needs 50% plus one vote to pass anything.
But the Senate Thursday will have to have 60% of its members approve the amnesty for the President to sign it into law. We don't believe there are 60 Senators willing to do this during this time of sustained high unemployment.
Thus, the House vote tonight represented the high-water mark -- and ultimately the failed end -- of a 10-year campaign to pass this loophole-filled, fraud-prone, overly-broad amnesty that lacks any enforcement against future illegal immigration.
The reason Pelosi wouldn't allow a vote on the DREAM amnesty earlier was the fear that it would take care of the most attractive and heart-tugging examples of illegal aliens and make it impossible to pass a blanket amnesty for all illegal aliens later. It was always assumed that with the Democrats controlling 60% of the Senate and 60% of the House at the beginning of this Congress that the DREAM amnesty would have little trouble passing both chambers.
Yet tonight, the bill really just scraped through, and we hopefully will see it buried for many years to come Thursday in the Senate.
Tonight marks the first time in 10 years that the DREAM amnesty has actually passed a chamber of Congress. That makes this a high-water mark.
But if DREAM can't get through all of Congress with the bill's most passionate backers leading a Party that has one of the largest majorities in history -- while virtually every national elite has been supporting it and while foundations have poured tens of millions of dollars into passing it -- what kind of chance does it have for passage in the future?
And if the easiest most attractive amnesty that the open-borders forces could devise can't get through THIS Congress, when can any amnesty get through any Congress in the future?
Maybe several amazing deals will be struck before tomorrow morning and the Senate will shock me and disappoint the nation by passing the DREAM amnesty. But my guess is that the victorious smile Speaker Pelosi wore as she grabbed the gavel and declared an amnesty victory tonight amid great applause was the bittersweet smile of a victory that will mean nothing. At least, I hope so.
20 House Members Failed To Vote
The usual 218 vote majority was not needed tonight because 20 Representatives failed to show up to vote:
DEMOCRATS: Berry (Ark.), Cohen (Tenn.), Delahunt (Mass.), Kilpatrick (Mich.), Marshall (Ga.), Mollohan (W.Va.), Schiff (Calif.) and Wu (Oregon)
REPUBLICANS: Bilbray (Calif.), Blunt (Mo.) Buyer (Ind.), Fallin (Okla.), Gingrey (Ga.), Granger (Texas), Griffith (Ala.), Marchant (Texas), McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Radanovich (Calif.) and Stutzman (Ind.)
It is doubtful that these absences affected the final outcome.
8 REPUBLICANS Broke With Their Party Leadership And Voted FOR The Amnesty
Our chances to defeat the amnesty were sunk with the defection of these 8 Republicans in favor of amnesty:
DELAWARE - Castle
FLORIDA - L. Diaz-Balart
FLORIDA - M. Diaz-Balart
FLORIDA - Ros-Lehtinen
HAWAII - Djou
LOUISIANA - Cao
MICHIGAN - Ehlers
SOUTH CAROLINA - Inglis
38 DEMOCRATS Broke With Their Party Leadership And Voted AGAINST Amnesty
We almost did as well with Democrats as I had hoped. I had always said we needed at least 42 Democrats to vote for unemployed Americans and against the amnesty, although I felt 45 probably was needed. Because of so many Republican defections, we actually needed more.
These were both re-elected Democrats and Democrats who were defeated, all of whom went against incredibly emotional appeals from their Party's top leaders in floor speeches tonight.
It is quite rare for a Speaker of the House to go to the floor and make a speech. But Speaker Pelosi made it clear that passing this amnesty is one of the dearest things to her heart in an impassioned speech that seemed to laud as a hero every citizen of another country who is courageous enough to break our immigration laws.
Nonetheless, these Democrats OPPOSED the amnesty:
ALABAMA - Barrow
ALABAMA - Bright
ARKANSAS - Ross
ILLINOIS - Costello
ILLINOIS - Lipinski
INDIANA - Donnelly
INDIANA - Ellsworth
INDIANA - Visclosky
KENTUCKY - Chandler
MARYLAND - Kratovil
MICHIGAN - Stupak
MINNESOTA - Peterson
MISSISSIPPI - Childers
MISSISSIPPI - Taylor
NEW YORK - Arcuri
NEW YORK - Higgins
NEW YORK - Owens
NORTH CAROLINA - Kissell
NORTH CAROLINA - McIntyre
NORTH CAROLINA - Shuler
OHIO - Boccieri
OHIO - Kaptur
OHIO - Space
OHIO - Wilson
OKLAHOMA - Boren
PENNSYLVANIA - Altmire
PENNSYLVANIA - Carney
PENNYSLVANIA - Critz
PENNSYLVANIA - Dahlkemper
PENNSYLVANIA - Holden
PENNSYLVANIA - Kanjorski
PENNSYLVANIA - P. Murphy
UTAH - Matheson
VIRGINIA - Boucher
VIRGINIA - Nye
WASHINGTON - Baird
WEST VIRGINIA - Rahall
No matter what you may think about the rest of the politics of these Members, I hope those of you in their states will give them major pats on the back for taking this stand.
Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121
Notice how they are from all over the country.
Special thanks to all of you Pennsylvanians who outdid yourself with 7 Democrats voting NO.
And how often do you New Yorkers have something to be proud about when it comes to immigration voting? But you did well tonight. So did those of you from Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina.
I'm especially proud of all the Democrats who lost their seats in the November elections and still voted against their Party leaders and against the amnesty tonight.
Most Senate voicemail boxes are full. So, you won't be able to leave messages. You need to start calling after 7 a.m. EST Thursday for a last chance to affect the outcome.
SEE YOU ON THE LIVE WEBCAST THURSDAY MORNING as we watch and comment on the Senate amnesty vote. Watch at:
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Dec 9th 2010 @ 12:42am EST