Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Senate Live - June 6, 2006

The Senate will convene at 9:45, and will move quickly to the confirmation vote for Renee Marie Bumb as a District Court judge.

Debate on the motion to take up S.J.Res.1, a Federal Marriage Amendment, is scheduled as:

  • 11:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Proponents
  • 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Opponents
  • 02:15 p.m. to 02:30 p.m. equally divided
  • 02:30 p.m. to 03:00 p.m. Opponents
  • 03:00 p.m. to 04:00 p.m. Proponents
  • 04:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m. Opponents
  • 05:00 p.m. to 05:30 p.m. Proponents
  • 05:30 p.m. to 06:00 p.m. Opponents

The time for the cloture vote on whether or not to vote on taking S.J.Res.1 up for consideration is to be announced sometime today, where that cloture vote will be misconstrued as support or opposition for the amendment, and where that cloture vote will mark the end of this political charade for the 109th Congress.

This post on the language and history of S.J.Res.1 includes links to the debate of July 2004, and my general opinion and rationales for holding it.


The following resolutions can go without comment, but I want to note that the recent immigration bill passed by the Senate, S.2611, included S.Amdt.4124 to study the impact but not make the change of excluding illegal aliens from Congressional apportionment calculations. Had the amendment excluded illegal aliens from apportionment calculations, it would have been opposed.

PETITIONS AND MEMORIALS

POM-345. A resolution adopted by the Senate of the State of Michigan relative to memorializing the United States Congress to adopt and transmit to the states for ratification an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ensure that apportionment is based on citizens and not non-citizens; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Senate Resolution No. 105

Whereas, Reapportionment based on the counting of non-citizens in the federal census is adversely affecting the United States Congress and the American political process. Since 1960, Michigan and other Midwestern states have had to sacrifice congressional representation to the faster-growing states of Florida, California, and Texas. The redistributions of congressional seats in the 1970 and 1980 censuses were almost completely due to internal migration; citizens moving from the Northeastern and Midwestern states to the South and West. However, since 1990, immigration has been driving reapportionment. During that decade the number of non-citizens grew by almost 680,000 annually. By March 2005 there were nearly 22 million non-citizens in this country, comprising 7.4 percent of the total population; and

Whereas, Immigration is having a significant effect on the distribution of congressional seats for several reasons. First, seats are apportioned based on each state's total population relative to the rest of the country, including legal immigrants and illegal non-citizens. Second, Congress permits a significant number of legal immigrants to enter this country and permits hordes of illegals to brazenly flout our immigration laws by crossing our porous borders unchallenged. According to the 2000 census, there were more than 18 million non-citizens in the United States, equaling the population of almost 29 congressional districts. Further, non-citizens are not equally distributed throughout the nation. In 2000, over 9 million non-citizens lived in 3 states and nearly 70 percent resided in 6 states; and

Whereas, The impact of non-citizens on apportionment is tremendous. In 2000, the presence of non-citizens caused Michigan and 8 other states to lose congressional seats. Moreover, Michigan was one of 4 states to lose seats directly to the illegal immigrant havens of California, Texas, New York, and Florida. It is important to realize that Michigan did not lose a congressional seat because its population was in decline. Instead, legal and illegal immigration caused the population of other states to grow at an even faster pace; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate, That we memorialize the United States Congress to adopt and transmit to the states for ratification an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ensure that apportionment is based on citizens, and not non-citizens; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.

--

POM-346. A referendum adopted by the Town of Perry, Dane County, Wisconsin relative to immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq; to the Committee on Armed Services


And on the procedural maneuver at the start of business yesterday, as to getting an immigration bill to conference, here are cuts from the relevant parts of the record.

UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--H.R. 4437

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Judiciary Committee be discharged from further consideration of H.R. 4437, the House immigration bill; that the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration; that all after the enacting clause be stricken and that the text of S. 2611, as passed by the Senate, be substituted in lieu thereof, the bill be read the third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and the Senate insist on its amendment, request a conference with the House, and the chair be authorized to appoint conferees.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I object.

What's that? An objection to substitute S.2611 for H.R.4437, where the primary object of each bill is immigration. Hmm, one might ask, what's up with the GOP objecting to that?

As I noted in a comment yesterday, this has to do with S.2611 being cast as a bill for raising revenue, and the US Constitution says all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House.

Mr. McCONNELL. ... I offer a different unanimous consent. I ask unanimous consent the Senate proceed to Calendar No. 326, H.R. 4096; provided further that all after the enacting clause be stricken, and the text of the Senate-passed immigration bill be inserted in lieu thereof.

Further, that the bill be read the third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.

I further ask that the Senate insist on its amendment, request a conference with the House, and the chair be authorized to appoint conferees.

Okay - so the Senate can take a tax bill, ENTIRELY remove it's contents and substitute an immigration bill, and the issue of which chamber initiated the measure "goes away." An amazing sleight of hand. It seems to me that with this parliamentary move, the Senate Republicans are ASSERTING that the immigration bill is a tax measure.

At any rate, Senator Reid objected to McConnell's UC request, to which Senator McConnell had this to say:

The American people did not send us here to try to engage in some kind of effort to embarrass the other Chamber. They want us to legislate. We spent multiple weeks on the immigration bill. Both the Democratic and Republican leaders are aware of who the conferees are. It is time to move forward. We should not engage in some kind of parliamentary maneuver that is going to be completely lost on the American people as they wonder why in the world we did not get about the business of having the conference on a very challenging bill, the immigration bill.

The upshot of all this is that an immigration conference is quite "up in the air." There will be no conference until the Senate sends something to the House, insisting on its amendment, and the House doesn't "blue slip" whatever the Senate sends over.

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