The Senate will now officially debate immigration reform. Tuesday afternoon the Senate voted 82-15 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to debate on the immigration reform bill written by the Gang of Eight. The bill needed 60 votes to overcome this procedural hurdle.
All 15 Senators voting against the motion to proceed were Republicans. They include John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Mike Lee (Utah), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and David Vitter (La.).
Tom Coburn (Okla.) Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) didn’t vote.
While some of the Senators that voted to at least allow a debate on the issue will likely eventually vote against the final bill, this procedural vote still provides some useful information. There is a good chance that every Republican who voted against even allowing the bill to be amended and debated is basically winnable for the pro-immigration side. They send a clear message they are against even letting the Senate consider this type of reform package.
Not surprisingly, President Obama held an event this morning urging action on the legislation before it hit the Senate floor.