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June 25, 2013 9:43 AM Twas A Famous Victory

By Ed Kilgore

The cloture vote for a package of amendments to the Gang of Eight immigration bill highlighted by the Corker-Hoeven “border surge” passed 67-27 last night, amid moderately loud hosannas that it paved the way for a big supermajority vote for final passage at the end of this week.

That’s probably true, though some of the 15 Republicans who voted for the “surge” may have just been signaling support for throwing money at border enforcement and won’t vote for the final bill. Of the six senators who missed the vote, two are Democrats and two others are Republicans who might possibly vote for the Gang of Eight.

But let’s say for the sake of argument that the “test vote” was a good reflection of how the bill will turn out (we’ll have a better test tomorrow, when the Senate votes for cloture on the final bill). Are the House Republicans who right now appear to overwhelmingly oppose anything like the Gang of Eight bill going to be bowled over by the stunning support given it by Senate Republicans, who voted “no” by a 27-15 margin? Will it be clear to them that “their party” desperately needs comprehensive immigration reform, and will get credit from grateful Latino voters for its passage, when Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell is among the nay-sayers?

I had a reasonably long Twitter exchange with Greg Sargent and Jonathan Bernstein late yesterday on the whole scenario of House Republicans letting John Boehner pass an immigration bill with mostly Democratic votes because they know it’s good for their party. Greg and Jonathan acknowledge the GOP can hardly “get credit” for the legislation if big majorities of their members of Congress vote against it, even if they are “privately” all for it. But they still think getting this issue off the table and out of the news, and “stopping the bleeding” among Latinos, might well be worth House GOPers taking a dive, or at least letting John Boehner know they won’t tan his orange hide if he ignores the Hastert Rule and lets the Senate bill or something like it get to the floor.

I don’t buy it, but then we’re all just speculating here. How does it look to you?

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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