Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (pictured) will not fight against the Gang of Eight Amnesty Bill, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee 13-5 and will be on the Senate floor in early June.
In the Judiciary Committee, the vote on S 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, was:
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Schumer, Durbin, Graham, and Flake are members of the Gang of Eight that drafted the bill.
Alexander Bolton reported in The Hill that McConnell would not try to block the immigration bill and, in fact, was hopeful it would pass:
McConnell praised the work of Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and other members of the Gang of Eight, who crafted the comprehensive legislation during months of private negotiations.
"The Gang of Eight has made a substantial contribution to moving the issue forward. So far, I'm told that the Judiciary Committee has not in any fundamental way undone the agreement reached by the eight senators, so I'm hopeful we’ll be able to get a bill we can pass here in the Senate."
McConnell could end up voting against the bill on final passage, but he won't fool many people who understand how Senate procedures actually work.
In Red State, Daniel Horowitz commented, "Failing to filibuster it now is nothing but a rubber stamp on the bill…Opposing a filibuster and praising the bill early on is tantamount to full support of the bill."
In contrast to McConnell, Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said in closing remarks before the vote, "No one disputes that this bill is legalization first, enforcement later. And that's unacceptable."
Sessions was even more upset with the Gang of Eight Bill:
The only promise the sponsors of this legislation have kept is their promise to block any attempts to improve the proposal. As a result, we are left with legislation that is fundamentally unchanged and fatally flawed…
And the future enforcement provisions actually represent a weakening of laws previously enacted by Congress…Amendments offered by Republicans to put enforcement first were all rejected…Sheriffs across the nation, have written to Congress warning that this bill would be "a significant barrier to the creation of a safe and lawful system of immigration."
According to the nation's leading welfare expert--Robert Rector--it will add $6.3 Trillion to our long-term debt…In just the last 24 hours, this committee has rejected three amendments--including two I offered--to prevent illegal aliens from getting means-tested financial assistance…
This bill is bad for workers, bad for taxpayers, and—as immigration officers have pleaded for us to hear—a threat to public safety and the rule of law. It serves the special interests at the expense of the national interest."
As Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum put it, "The Gang of Eight Immigration Bill can be summed up as amnesty now, border closing never."
Caroline May in the Daily Caller reported that over 150 conservative leaders have signed a letter opposing the Gang of Eight Bill. The letter says "the Schumer-Rubio Bill suffers from fundamental design flaws that make it unsalvageable."
Among those signing the letter included:
Monica Crowley, radio talk show host
Erick Erickson, Red State
Roger Hedgecock, radio talk show host
Laura Ingraham, radio talk show host
Mark Levin, radio talk show host
Rich Lowry, National Review
Michelle Malkin, columnist and commentator
Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots
Peter Thomas, Conservative Caucus
Richard Viguerie, ConservativeHQ.com
In the meantime, Rubio's poll ratings have gone down again, apparently as a result of his activism in behalf of the Gang of Eight Bill.
A recent issue of this newsletter cited a Rasmussen Reports poll that found Rubio has lost support in recent months with Republican voters.
Now, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows Rubio with an overall approval rating of 32%.
And the Florida senator has only a 53% approval rating from those who voted for Mitt Romney in last year's presidential election. Interestingly, Rubio's rating is identical with both whites and Hispanics--34% approval from both—as well as 13% approval from blacks.
It appears the Gang of Eight Bill will pass the Senate, but it is likely to run into much tougher opposition in the House of Representatives.
The previous What's Happening with Conservatives and the Tea Party: Rubio's TV Ad for Amnesty Bill is Deceptive
The previous What's Happening with Seniors Benefits: New Bite to Repeal Obamacare Taken
Previous issues of both newsletters.
Follow Art Kelly on Twitter @ArthurKellyJr