Bloomberg reports that the Senate’s proposed overhaul of U.S. immigration law failed a critical test vote today.
The 33 votes to limit debate were 27 short of the 60 needed to move toward a final vote on legislation granting legal status to 12 million undocumented aliens. Democrats scheduled another vote for 7:30 p.m. Washington time. Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said that if a second vote fails, “the bill’s gone.” He added, “What else can I do?”
One of the deal breakers was apparently a 49-48 vote on an amendment put forth by North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan to terminate the guest-worker plan in five years unless Congress renews it.
The guest-worker plan is a cornerstone of the fragile agreement worked out between Democrats and Republicans, which also would impose tougher sanctions on employers who knowingly hire undocumented aliens.
Negotiators today sought agreement on a list of amendments that Republicans would be allowed to offer, while Republicans tried to resolve concerns about Dorgan’s amendment, lawmakers said. In addition, Democrats were looking for changes in an amendment that would let immigration officials give information to law enforcement officials about applicants for legal status.