Sen. Harry Reid claims 56 votes in hand for immigration reform
Over the weekend in Las Vegas, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threw a new number into the debate over whether comprehensive immigration reform might have a shot at passage this year. That number was 56.
Besides saying that immigration reform couldn’t wait, Sen. Reid claimed he could count on 56 Democratic senators to vote for it.
“I’ve got 59 Democratic senators, all but 3 would support this,” said Reid, according to a press release from the Washington, D.C.-based Reform Immigration for America campaign. “I want a handful of Republicans, a few Republicans, let them step forward … There is no excuse.”
Reid’s numbers are eyebrow-raising. That’s because a far larger number of Democratic Senators voted against immigration reform in the U.S. Senate when it last came up in 2007– 15, to be exact. These “nay” votes in 2007 include current Democratic Senators such as Barrasso, Baucus, Bayh, Bingaman, Byrd, Dorgan, Landrieu, McCaskill, and Webb. So at least 80 percent of these 2007 “nay” votes would have had to have changed between then and now for Reid to be proved right.
The Reform Immigration for America campaign has videos and text of the remarks made by Sen. Reid in Las Vegas, as well as a similar address given by Sen. Richard Durbin in Chicago.
The immigration reform plan currently gaining ground in the Senate is the bipartisan framework proposed by Sens. Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham. The plan centers on a national identity card for workers that would prevent unauthorized workers from getting jobs, but would also offer a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.