Procedural votes poised to pass, prelude to Senate immigration fight
WASHINGTON — Senators prepared on Monday for the first votes in the full Senate on a landmark immigration bill, readying amendments on contentious issues including border security, back taxes and health care coverage.
The two votes scheduled for Tuesday afternoon are on procedural measures to allow debate to move forward on the far-reaching measure to remake immigration laws and offer eventual citizenship to some 11 million people in the nation illegally.
Both votes are expected to succeed by comfortable margins, because even some senators with deep misgivings about the bill say that the issue deserves a Senate debate.
The real fights will occur in the upcoming days and weeks, as Republican senators offer amendments they say are needed to strengthen the bill enough that they can vote in favor.
Some of these may pass; others are being dismissed by the bill's supporters as attempts to kill the bill.
One of the bill's authors, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has said the legislation needs stronger border control measures if it is going to make it all the way to President Obama's desk. He's been supportive of an amendment announced by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to add new requirements on border security that need to happen before anyone can obtain a permanent residence green card.