First, something that virtually everybody concedes -- If the Senate had voted this morning (as had been promised), the DREAM Act amnesty would have been defeated. So, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to buy another week of pro-amnesty lobbying from the White House and the rich pro-amnesty advocacy groups. Many news outlets immediately put out reports that the amnesty bill was now dead. But not so fast. The news is not that good . . .
The pro-amnesty groups still have millions of dollars in their war chests that they haven't spent yet. Their emails are now rallying their troops for another week of pounding Senators to vote to give millions of additional work permits to increase the competition against unemployed Americans.
In the crazy, anything-can-happen climate of the final days of a Congress, don't bet on whether they can pull a victory out of what would have been sure defeat if the vote had occurred today.
All of you who watched our live web-streaming this morning during the Senate proceedings know that it was a complex and confusing mess. But here is where we are in several nutshells:
- Our NumbersUSA Hill Team was convinced that we had enough votes to kill the DREAM amnesty if there had been a vote at 11 a.m. as promised.
- Reid obviously knew pretty much what we knew. He didn't want to accept that his amnesty dream was lost and moved to buy another week of time, showing that one of his top priorities continues to be adding millions more foreign-born workers with work permits to compete with unemployed Americans.
- Reid moved to table the Senate's DREAM amnesty bill. A motion to table only required a majority vote. It passed 59-40.
- That effectively killed the Senate's version of DREAM. But Reid promised to bring up the House-passed DREAM next week.
It is very difficult to read into what each individual YES and NO vote on the tabling motion meant. Each Senator seemed to have different ideas in mind. We had several strong anti-amnesty Senators voting with Reid to table and some strong pro-amnesty Senators voting against tabling.
The result, however, is that we were not able to kill the DREAM amnesty once and for all today.
The pro-amnesty side is crowing that it has another week to change the minds of some Senators to pass this next week.
If Congress can't come to an agreement on the tax issue by the end of next week, passage of the amnesty will be pretty much impossible.
But if there IS a tax agreement, the pro-amnesty people are hoping to peel off a number of Senators who now are saying they plan to vote NO.
ACTION: We need you to continue to come back to your customized Action Board every day to take action until Congress adjourns or deals with the amnesty.
For today, every single Senator needs to hear from you again to help guard against listening to bargaining offers. So, call your two Senators again. Consult your Phone Action Notes on the Action Board for talking points.
Remember that it has been the grassroots mobilization over the last 10 years, and especially this year, that has stalled the amnesty push to this point.
Just a little more effort, and we will have beaten this thing.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Dec 9th 2010 @ 3:37pm EST