Senate Live - May 18, 2006
Summary of May 17 Action on The Immigration Bill
- S.Amdt.4027 - Kyl-Cornyn: exclude immigrants with criminal records from being placed on a pathway to citizenship (To make certain aliens ineligible for adjustment to lawful permanent resident status or Deferred Mandatory Departure status), was PASSED on a 99 - 00 vote
- S.Amdt.3979 - Sessions: Building 370+ miles of fence (To increase the amount of fencing and improve vehicle barriers installed along the southwest border of the United States), was PASSED on a 83 - 16 vote
- S.Amdt.3971 - Obama: to establish a wage level for workers who have not completed any education beyond a high school diploma, was PASSED on a voice vote.
- S.Amdt.3963 - Vitter: Striking provisions that provide a path to citizenship for illegal residents (To strike the provisions related to certain undocumented individuals [Title IV, Title VI]), was REJECTED on a 33 - 66 vote
- S.Amdt.4018 - Stevens: Moving the deadline for implementing personal identification requirements, for crossing the US-Canada or US-Mexico border, from January 1, 2008; to June 1, 2009, was PASSED on a voice vote.
- S.Amdt. 4000 - Santorum: visa waivers and favorable treatment for aliens from "program countries", was PASSED on a voice vote.
- S.Amdt. 3965 - Cornyn: requires a guest worker to be sponsored by an employer that has attested that no American will take the job, in order to be eligible for permanent residency (To modify the conditions under which an H-2C nonimmigrant may apply for an employment-based immigrant visa), was PASSED on a 50 - 48 vote
Schedule for May 18 Action
Later in this summary, Inhofe amendment becomes 4064
- Kennedy - an alternative to Inhofe's S.Amdt.3996
- Inhofe S.Amdt.3996 - making English the official language of the US government
- Akaka S.Amdt.4029 - "Aliens not subject to direct numerical limitations" - children of Filipino WWII who earned naturalized citizenship to be included in Section 201(b)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(1))
- Ensign S.Amdt.3985 - no credit for Social Security contributions that predate obtaining legal status under this bill
Nelson (FL) S.Amdt.3998 - construction of detention facilities or
S.Amdt.4016 - detention policy
- S.Amdt.3964 - Vitter: To tighten "proof of residency" documentation
- Durbin - No amendments showing in record
- Kyl - choose between 3962, 3969, and 3970
- An amendment to be selected by the Democrats
- Chambliss - choose one of 4008-4015 or 4030-4034
The morning hours won't be exciting. The offered amendments are small potatoes, to be met with token resistance. Illustrative of that is the 10 minutes of debate allocated to Kennedy's alternative to Inhofe's "English as the official language" amendment. Inhofe's S.Amdt.3996 will pass, easily.
I'm not sure that the Akaka amendment being considered will be S.Amdt.4029, but in case it is, click on the 8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(1) link, and notice again some of the complexity of immigration policy. On the same subject (immigration), it may make you feel better to know that the French are also struggling with tightening their immigration policy.
The point of the next blockquote is that (yes, you do need to be reminded) the devil is in the details. But wait, it get worse. This blog doesn't necessarily cover the details, that's your job.
Under-the-Radar Fact [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a Senate source:
I saw Krikorian's post on The Corner, and thought this might be of some use:
The original Kyl-Cornyn amendment that did not get a vote a few weeks ago used the term "subject to a final order of removal." A "final order of removal" means that all appeals at the agency/court level have been completed.
There are almost 70,000 cases on appeal in the agency, and tens of thousands of cases on appeal in federal circuits around the country.
In their effort to defend absconders, the advocacy groups claimed that the phrase "subject to a final order" was ambiguous. So we put in language that says any alien "that has been ordered removed." - e.g. no "final order" or "subject to" So now the ineligibility would apply to anyone who has been ordered removed, even if they have a case on appeal.
In sum - the advocacy groups negotiated away anyone who is on appeal - so that they are now ineligible for legalization. All they got in return was a carve-out for extreme hardship.
I shouldn't laugh. Anyway, I read that, and then I read Tony Blankley's piece of May 17, which jerked me back to the general. And being jerked back to the general, I came to the conclusion that the pertinent analysis is being buried - either by emotional buzz-phrases and sound bites, or by attention to minutia. That dichotomy describes political discourse in general.
Discovering the pertinent analysis is left as an exercise for the reader.
UPDATE @ 09:20 - S.Amdt.4065 - Kennedy is being debated. This more or less undoes the Cornyn amendment, S.Amdt.3965, which required the employer to attest that the job being taken by a certain class of immigrant could not be filled by an American, rather than permit the alien to so testify, himself.
The attestation would come not from the individual employer, but would comprise two steps. First, the Secretary of Labor determines and certifies that there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to fill the job position. Then, an employer attests that the employer will employ the alien in the offered job position.
Dorgan comes to the podium and says he does not support a guest worker program at all, or "future flow" of workers. He is advocating for the American worker, or the American job - preserving the (higher) pay scale that naturally results when employees are more scarce.
S.Amdt.4053 - Kennedy: is the DEM counterpart to Inhofe's "English is official language" amendment. It authorizes the Secretary of Education to award not more than 10 grants in a fiscal year to eligible partnerships for the design and implementation of model programs to:
(A)assist immigrant students to achieve in elementary schools and secondary schools in the United States by offering such educational services as English as a second language classes, literacy programs, programs for introduction to the education system, and civics education; and
(B) assist parents of immigrant students by offering such services as Adult English as a second language class, civics and government classes, parent education, and literacy development services, and;
(C) to coordinate activities with other entities to provide comprehensive community social services such as health care, job training, child care, and transportation services.
Hearings today on General Hayden to take the head of the CIA. I expect the hearings will be contentious due to the NSA activities, but not too contentious.
UPDATE @ 09:40 - The first vote is to occur at 10:00, and that will be on the Kennedy amendment, I believe on S.Amdt.4066.
S.Amdt.4066 - Kennedy: restores the self-petition facility for workers in country on temporary visas to obtain permanent legal residency. This amendment is being offered today, and the text is not yet available online. Department of Labor would make the finding that there is no American citizen available to take the job.
I suspect that this resembles S.Amdt.4065, described above, with some changes.
UPDATE @ 09:50 - I neglected to mention, above, that Senators McCain and Graham support this amendment. This eases the path to permanent residency, and has the effect of increasing the permanent labor pool. Besides the attestation of the Secretary of Labor, the proposed amendment adds several categories of documentation that an alien would use to show evidence of being currently employed. Those records being workers comp, disability, etc.
UPDATE @ 10:10 - Senator Specter notes that Inhofe amendment will be next after this vote, perhaps with a side by side vote on the "other" Kennedy amendment (the one that sets up grants for education). Negotiations are underway as to the side-by-side. After the amendment (or amendments) relating to "English language," the Senate will move to the Akaka amendment. Meanwhile, the Senate is voting. I'll fill in the blanks when the vote is complete, and give my prediction that this will be PASSED. This is essentially a redo of the Cornyn amendment, and it wouldn't be offered if there hadn't been some arm-twisting overnight.
S.Amdt.4066 - Kennedy: restoring the self-petition facility for workers in country on temporary visas to obtain permanent legal residency (undoes yesterday's 50-48 passage of Cornyn's S.Amdt.3965) was PASSED on a 56 - 43 vote
UPDATE @ 10:30 - Quite the shift in vote count. Wipes out the little bit of joy I had yesterday afternoon, on this subject. Crossovers to be listed shortly - I wasn't paying attention.
Senator Byrd has 20 minutes to talk generally on the subject of immigration. He's going to sound like a Republican, and IMO, this speech will be worth listening to. Following that, the Senate will move to the Inhofe amendment, and may either have a side-by-side debate (with an opposing amendment). Senator Kennedy notes that the DEMs are working diligently to compose amendment language that might go as an alternative to Inhofe.
Following debate on Inhofe, the Senate will move to the Akaka amendment. Senator Specter indicates that he may stack votes, rather than vote on each amendment as debate is concluded on that amendment.
Hat tip to howappealing ...
Ninth Circuit nominee Sandra Segal Ikuta is on the agenda for a vote at today's executive business meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman
UPDATE @ 10:40 - Senator Byrd is on a real tear against the administration, and against Congress, for it's dismal performance on securing the border. He lists many amendments and bills discussed and defeated. He is emphatically against amnesty, as amnesty is expressed in the details of this bill. "It's a slap in the face of every immigrant who has had to work to become a US citizen."
He points out the inviting nature of many of the provision in this bill, singling out the DREAM act, in-state tuition for aliens, for criticism. He also notes that an increase in legal immigration activity may well swamp the immigration bureaucracy. He will oppose S.2611 when the final bill comes up for vote. Yeah, him and maybe 35 others. S.2611 is going to pass.
Debate goes on to the Inhofe amendment.
UPDATE @ 11:15 - For what it's worth, the roll call on the Kennedy amendment shows the following crossover votes. The names in bold represent changes from the vote on the Cornyn amendment:
GOP: Brownback, Chafee, Craig, DeWine, Graham, Hagel, Lugar,
Martinez, McCain, Murkowski, Specter, Stevens, Voinovich and
DEM: Byrd, Nelson (NE),
UPDATE @ 11:30 - The Inhofe amendment is temporarily set aside. The DEMs are still working on their counterpart amendment, and Senator Specter thinks both will be debated, side-by-side, later this afternoon. Meanwhile the Ensign amendment is brought up, with a vote tentatively scheduled for 12:30. Senator Specter said something about two votes at 12:30, but I'm at a loss as to what the second vote would be on, if the DEMs aren't ready or willing to vote on the Inhofe amendment.
Ensign S.Amdt.3985 - no credit for Social Security contributions that predate obtaining legal status under this bill (an anti identity-theft provision), is being introduced. I believe this will pass easily.
UPDATE @ 12:15 - Ensign brings up a point that I hadn't heard. The requirement to pay back taxes does NOT include a requirement to pay Social Security arrears.
Proposal for Reporter Shield Law
Lugar stands as though in morning business to introduce a bill, "The Free Flow of Information Act," on behalf of himself, and Senators Specter, Dodd and Schumer. This bill is in reaction to courts and the administration compelling reporters to reveal their sources. Lugar characterizes this as a whistleblower bill. He asserts that Congress should address the range of law that is presently in place across the Circuits.
The bill addresses the subpoena power, and would provided standards for the issuing of subpoenas to reporters.
Specter notes the example of Judith Miller, who was jailed last year for refusing to testify in the Plame/Libby case. I wonder if Senator Specter thinks her incarceration was unwarranted. Specter doesn't realize that the Miller incarceration was supported by the Judge's belief that (at the time the question was compelling her testimony) a leaker of a national security secret was in the balance.
... on re-reading In re: Grand Jury Subpoena, Judith Miller, 405 F.3d 17, 18 (D.C.Cir. 2005), I see that Judge Tatel -- but neither of Henderson and Sentelle -- further conditions compelling journalist testimony on the government showing actual damage assignable to the leak being investigated. The reason Tatel found for Fitz was based on his misconstruing of Fitz's admission (that he had no evidence that Libby knew or thought Wilson's wife was covert) as an assertion that Wilson's wife met the criteria of IIPA. Given this mistaken belief, Tatel would still compel testimony to support a perjury prosecution, even if Libby wasn't a leaker. But if he corrects his mistaken belief, he reverses his opinion to order testimony be compelled from reporters.
At the time of deciding whether or not to compel Miller to testify, the case was not about obstruction (in Judge Tatel's mind), it was about finding the person who had leaked the ID of a covert agent. Judge Tatel incorrectly thought the CIA had made a legitimate referral, and that the prosecutor had confirmed this.
Specter's speech will be some red meat for the Plame junkies. LOL.
Here is the speech by Senator Lugar introducing (probably) the same measure in February last year. See S.340 - Free Flow of Information Act of 2005, and a redo at S.1419 - Free Flow of Information Act of 2005.
There are many cross references in the links in the previous paragraph, and "reporter shield" is a topic that has enough breadth to support plenty of debate on its own.
I suppose this comes up at this time, not on account of the Plame/Libby case, but on account of the NSA leaks.
Senator Sessions urges care in this. A spy who gives information to our enemy is perhaps guilty of treason, but a spy who gives the information to a reporter causes the information to be broadcast to ALL of our enemies, and the reporter might get a Pulitzer Prize. Heheheheh. True, true.
Senator Schumer adds his two cents, noting there has been a deadlock in passing a shield law. "We certainly want to protect a whistleblower." Heheh, one man's whistleblower is another man's leaker. He says that leaking Plame was against the law (so would he have incarcerated Miller?).
For the curious, I'm dead against a shield law for reporters. I disagree with Schumer's assertion that having subpoena standards would untangle a Gordian Knot. It would simply move the knot to a different location in the investigatory and legal process.
Back to Immigration
Senator McCain speaking out against the Ensign amendment. Senator Specter indicated earlier that he might move to table it. I see that the 12:30 time has come and gone without a vote, but I think the next vote will be aimed to dispose of the Ensign amendment one way or the other.
UPDATE @ 12:50 - A brief back and forth between Senators Ensign and McCain, and McCain seems to be saying that under this bill, the use of a phony social security identification (perhaps even identity theft) should not be a bar to obtaining citizenship.
Senator Dodd speaks up against the border fence, indicating there will be international political ramifications to having a fence. He notes that Mexico is getting serious about securing the border, but that if we build a fence, the Mexican government will not be inclined to cooperate with the United States on border enforcement. What a wacky argument - on second thought, not wacky for an appeaser.
Senator Leahy says that the Ensign amendment is antithetical to the principle of treating illegal immigrants with dignity and respect, and his full remarks are entered in the record.
Senator Specter moves to table the Ensign amendment, and the vote is underway. With McCain in opposition, I expect the amendment WILL be tabled.
S.Amdt.3985 - Ensign: To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the
integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an
adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a
result of unlawful activity,
on a 50 - 49 vote.
GOP crossovers: Brownback, Chafee, DeWine, Graham, Hagel, Lugar, Martinez, McCain, Specter, Stevens and Voinovich
DEM crossovers: Byrd, Conrad, Dayton, Nelson (FL), and Nelson (NE)
UPDATE @ 13:15 - Wow. Lucky guess on may part - this was as close a vote as they come. McCain was rather full of doubletalk and emotional appeal to the poor illegal immigrants in his rebuttal to Ensign.
Negotiations underway to set the order of business to come. Senator Specter asks and obtains unanimous consent for the following order:
Inhofe amendment number changed from 3996 to 4064
- Akaka S.Amdt.4029 - "Aliens not subject to direct numerical limitations" - children of Filipino WWII who earned naturalized citizenship to be included in Section 201(b)(1) - 30 minutes of debate
- Vitter S.Amdt.3964 - To tighten "proof of residency" documentation - 45 minutes of debate
Inhofe S.Amdt.4064 - making English the official language of the US government
Debate from 2:45 until 4:15 with a possibility of a DEM side-by-side amendment
S.Amdt.4029 - Akaka: children of Filipino WWII who earned naturalized citizenship added to Section 201(b)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(1)) "Aliens not subject to direct numerical limitations", was PASSED on a voice vote.
The Senate was nearly empty, I heard on AYE vote (Kennedy) and no NAY votes.
UPDATE @ 14:20 - After about 30 minutes of talk by Senator Vitter,
S.Amdt.3964 - Vitter: To tighten "proof of residency" documentation, e.g., burden is on the applicant to provide a preponderance of evidence, was PASSED on a voice vote.
Now the Inhofe amendment (that seems to be a familiar refrain), and the mystery is whether or not there will be a DEM side-by-side amendment as a matter of giving choice to the Senate.
UPDATE @ 14:35 - There is some indication that the DEMs do have a competing proposal, but so far it is not at the desk, and no proponent has been formally identified.
Salazar indicates that he will propound an amendment, and there will be two votes at 4:15, the first on Inhofe, the second on Salazar.
UPDATE @ 15:05 - Salazar offers his substitute ...
S.Amdt.4073 - Salazar: the DEM counterpart to Inhofe's. The difference between the two amendments, Inhofe and Salazar, seems to play out in the framework of EO 13166 by President Clinton, which orders federal agencies to make efforts to prepare materials in various foreign languages. Senator Inhofe is willing to concede what legislation and courts have ordered, but I believe is trying to lay groundwork that would remove the affirmative executive order now in place to federal agencies.
Links to a few websites for further reading, to pass your time while waiting for the vote:
- Resources on Executive Order 13166
- The Implementation of EO 13166: Another Burden for American Small Business
- OMB Assessment of Cost and Benefits Associated with the Implementation of EO 13166
- Jim Boulet on Language & Civil Rights on National Review Online
Salazar asks Senator Alexander outright, if the intent of Inhofe is to eviscerate EO 13166, to which Alexander says "No, I think EO's are the equivalent of statutes. But you'd have to ask Senator Inhofe that exact question to see if he thinks the same way."
UPDATE @ 16:55 - coming up on votes at 5:00, after some really lame arguments by Reid, Boxer, Kennedy and Durbin. I have no sense of which way these votes will go, but hope the Republicans have enough sense to pass the Inhofe amendment.
UPDATE @ 17:25 - The Inhofe amendment passed easily. Crossover names are just from my listening, and may be incomplete or otherwise flawed. I'm guessing that Salazar will be a mirror image of Inhofe.
S.Amdt.4064 - Inhofe: Making English the official language of the US government,
on a 63 - 34 vote
GOP Crossovers: None
DEM Crossovers: Baucus, Byrd, Carper, Conrad, Dorgan, Johnson, Landrieu, Lincoln, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor
UPDATE @ 17:50 - Voting complete on the Salazar amendment. I'd have to read the text of both amendments side by side to see if Salazar overrides Inhofe.
I posted an anlysis on May 19 concluding that the Senate has effectively punted this issue to the Office of the President, which is where the "offensive" EO 13166 comes from. If President Bush wants to undo that order, he certainly can.
S.Amdt.4073 - Salazar: noting English as a unifying language, but the amendment will not diminish any present affirmative obligation of the US to provide material in a language other than English, was PASSED on a 58 - 39 vote
Next up will be amendments by Clinton and Cornyn, side by side, with 30 minutes equally divided. Senator Frist indicates further debate and voting on amendments tonight, then a couple of votes tomorrow morning.
S.Amdt.4072 - Clinton: having the federal government reimburse local governments for education, health care and law enforcement by establishing a program of financial assistance, allocated according to a funding formula based on the grown of non-citizen population. The amendment does not impose news fees or allocate funds from elsewhere - it takes funds from fees already assessed by this bill, e.g., the $500 fee to participate in guest worker program. Also the $2,000 fee for the obtaining permanent residency.
Senator Cornyn agrees with federal government reimbursing states and local governments, and proposes a further surcharge. 80% now goes to border security, 20% to administration of the program. Under Clinton, 10% goes to states (the state impact fund) - it reduces the money available to administer the federal program. The $2,000 fee paid is paid when the alien applies for permanent residency, they are H-2C for 6 years, and a burden on taxpayers during that interval.
S.Amdt.4038 - Cornyn: a $750 surcharge is paid (per person) at the time a person applies for H-2C status. This generates cash flow up front. Some of this money is transferred to the states.
Senator Specter calls for votes on Clinton and Cornyn, starting at 6:25 PM.
Senator Kennedy objects to imposing another charge on the illegal resident. Senator Cornyn asserts that the modest fee is a reasonable quid pro quo for having been a drain on local governments, for the cost of health care and education. Cornyn gives props to Clinton for sending federal money to the states, but notes that the money comes too late if it is tied to the time that the immigrant applies for a green card.
UPDATE @ 18:55 - Voting on the Clinton amendment is over. Between the two amendments, I clearly prefer Cornyn. User fees act as a deterrent, and also serve to compensate the social services network. A better solution though, is to deny or curtail services to people here illegally. Of course, emergency (life saving) health care can't be denied, but the rest sure can.
S.Amdt.4072 - Clinton: a fraction of federal funds paid by applicants for legal status
as provided under this bill be sent to states for education, health care and law enforcement
on a 43 - 52 vote
GOP crossovers: Chafee, Specter
DEM crossovers: Byrd, Nelson (NE)
UPDATE @ 19:25 - Voting on the Cornyn amendment is over. Some odd crossovers in this one. Specter is buttering Hillary's toast, but what's up with Cantwell and Murray, and Boxer, Feinstein, Biden, Wyden, Schumer? CLINTON even! Odd indeed.
S.Amdt.4038 - Cornyn: adding a surcharge for application for temporary worker status,
and provide those funds to states for education, health care and law enforcement
on a 64 - 32 vote
GOP crossovers: Chafee, Hagel, McCain, Specter
DEM crossovers: Baucus, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Conrad, Kerry, Lieberman, Lincoln, Murray, Nelson, (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor, Stabenow, Boxer, Feinstein, Biden, Wyden, Schumer, CLINTON!
And now details for continued taking up of amendments and debate and voting thereon.
Some shuffling due to a DEM objection to the Ensign amendment, that result in inability to proceed to a voice vote later. Ensign suggests that he make his statement and that the amendment be taken up at an appropriate time. Reid wants to get Kyl done first since it has a roll call vote, and people want to go home.
Landrieu asks if her two amendments can be taken up tonight for voting tomorrow. Senator Specter objects because he hasn't seen the amendments. Landrieu is insistent on getting 10 minutes - she says the amendments have been in hand for some time, and in an effort to get her turn, objects to the prearranged UC agreement that covered the Kyl/Ensign/Nelson order. The Chair advises Senator Landrieu that the UC agreement is already settled. She says she'll wait for, and object to the next proposed scheduling measure, so Specter says, "let's move on to the Kyl amendment." LOL.
- S.Amdt.3969 - Kyl: will be subjected to a tabling motion after 90 minutes of debate, divided 60 minutes for Kyl, 30 minutes for the minority
- Ensign - 10 minutes then hopefully move to voice vote
- Nelson (FL) - 5 minutes and then likely accepted on voice vote
- Landrieu - to offer two amendments for a vote in the morning
- Chambliss amendment - Senator Specter want to lay down tonight with a vote to be held tomorrow on a tabling motion
``(n) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, an alien having nonimmigrant status described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(c) is ineligible for and may not apply for adjustment of status under this section on the basis of such status.''.
I bet Landrieu is bending Specter's ear right now, insisting on getting her two amendments included for a voice vote, and holding scheduling of the Chambliss amendment hostage And Hmmm, what might those amendments be? Oh yeah, more money for Louisiana. Maybe hurricane related?
UPDATE @ 19:50 - Senator McCain rises in strong opposition to S.Amdt.3969, and from the gist of his objection, I think the amendment cuts off the track to green card for those illegal immigrants in the 2-5 year window.
McCain notes that the trouble in France could happen here - the rioters in France have no job, and no way to obtain status. Damn cheap argument, Senator McCain. Shame on you. At least he is clear that there is a fundamental disagreement, but my guess is that the Kyl amendment WILL BE TABLED when the vote comes up.
McCain has a narrow sense of what constitutes "comprehensive."
LOL. Sessions pulls out the "Masters of the Universe" line. "The Masters of the Universe met and created this comprehensive bill, and we must take it." Sessions says he doesn't think this is how the Senate works, and the "Masters of the Universe" haven't consulted with the American people. "I'm not going to hide under my desk just because McCain and Kennedy have crafter this compromise."
UPDATE @ 20:00 - Sessions is really laying the cordwood to the "guest worker" language. It's not guest worker, the bill is intended to create a path to permanent residency and then citizenship.
Looking ahead, I only see one Ensign amendment, that being S.Amdt.3985 - Ensign: To reduce document fraud, which was tabled earlier today on a 50-49 vote. Perhaps a UC agreement has been reached to take it up and pass it. The alternative is that Senator Ensign has a different amendment, not yet appearing in the Congressional Record. Time will tell.
The record shows two Nelson amendments, both relating to detention facilities; building and operating them, and standards for treatment of detainees.
UPDATE @ 20:25 - Senator Hagel just completed a fairly forgettable rant, siding with Senator McCain. Legislation is all about drawing lines and compromise, and all agree that at 2 years of illegal residency, out they go. All this amendment does is cut off the guaranteed path to permanent residency to the class of people who have been illegal residents for between 2 and 5 years. It doesn't make them leave, it just keeps them as temporary or guest workers.
UPDATE @ 21:55 - The vote to table the Kyl amendment is concluded.
Senator Specter says there has not been enough progress on the bill, but about 2/3rds of the amendments have been completed. He has been trying to schedule a couple votes, but negotiations have collapsed. I predict this is due in part to Landrieu digging in, but could be the normal negotiation process of time for debate, which amendments will come to the floor, going home on weekends, external schedule conflicts, and so forth.
The order, looking forward, is approximately as summarized below:
- S.Amdt. - Chamblis: to set a wage floor to avoid influx of illegal workers is laid down tonight will be vote on Monday afternoon
- Feinstein amendment - debate and vote on Monday afternoon
- S.Amdt.4076 - Ensign: to apply the National Guard as a force multiplier to the Border Patrol
- Bond amendment
Frist praises the Senate for the progress so far, but is also frustrated at the inability to get more done tonight, and inability to have votes tomorrow morning. There will be at least two roll call votes Monday, starting at 5:30. Frist notes that the Senate is going to have to work on Fridays in order to complete what needs to be done, and in particular by the end of this month:
- The Immigration Bill
- The Kavanaugh Nomination
- The Supplemental Spending Bill
Senator Ensign remembers the UC agreement, and introduces his S.Amdt.4076 which relates to the use of National Guard on the border. The Border Patrol sees National Guard as a means to multiply its force, where Border Patrol wouldn't have to do, for example, rescues, building and repairing of roads and fences, etc.
S.Amdt.3998 - Nelson (FL): construction of detention facilities, is introduced to add 8,000 beds per year, on top of current base of 20,000. Chairman's bill makes a one-time addition of 10,000 beds; the amendment increases that one time addition to 20,000 beds one time. The Nelson amendment was PASSED on a voice vote.
S.Amdt.4009 - Chamblis: setting a wage floor for temporary workers, in order to prevent an influx of foreign workers from depressing the local wage rate below the prevailing wage in the occupation in the area of intended employment.
Senator Craig opposes the Chamblis amendment on the grounds that the underlying bill provides a superior form of protection to the labor market.
Orders for Monday
- 5:00 - 5:30 time equally divided to debate S.Amdt.4009 - Chambliss
- 5:30 vote on S.Amdt.4009 - Chambliss
- Then vote on S.Amdt.4076 - Ensign (as modified)
Closing Business for Today
H.R.1499 - IRS Code revision is PASSED on a voice vote.
Committee on S.193 is discharged - increase penalties for violations to broadcasters for broadcasting indecent material, the bill is read a third time and is PASSED on a voice vote.
S.Res.484 - sense of Senate against Junta in Burma is PASSED on a voice vote.
Program for Friday, May 19
Continue to debate S.2611. No roll call votes. Next roll call votes on Monday afternoon.
Adjourned until 10:00 Friday morning.
Update @ 23:40 - President Bush nominated two more Circuit Court Judges, Kimberly A. Moore for the Federal Circuit (not the same as the D.C. Circuit), and Bobby E. Shepherd for the 8th Circuit. The Circuit Court Nominations Summary has been updated. I don't know much about either of these nominees, and the folks at confirmthem are "on the case," as it were.