I have repeated claimed that the grand immigration fiasco will not pass. In the wee hours of the morning, the U.S. Senate (easily the chamber more friendly to this mess), surprised itself by adding an amendment to “sunset” the temporary worker program after five -years, effectively blowing up the whole thing (CNN):
A fragile compromise that would legalize millions of unlawful immigrants risks coming unraveled after the Senate voted early Thursday to place a five-year limit on a program meant to provide U.S. employers with 200,000 temporary foreign workers annually. (UPDATE: This paragaph largely vanished as the CNN story itself has been updated since this monring).
The 49-48 vote came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected the same amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill.
The reversal dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is supported by President Bush but loathed by many conservatives. Business interests and their congressional allies were already angry that the temporary worker program had been cut in half from its original 400,000-person-a-year target.
A five-year sunset, they said, could knock the legs from the precarious bipartisan coalition aligned with the White House.
In other words – Ka-boom!
Now, given that the vote was so close, the three-card-amnesty crowd will do their best to reverse it. Arlen Specter is already calling the move “correctable.” However, as I mentioned before, the Senate is far more friendly with this bill then the House; so even if Dorgan’s amendment is repealed, a similar one will likely pass the House of Representatives, forcing a conference committee where the bill could die a slow death – and that’s assuming it passes the HoR at all.
Meanwhile, for now, this thing is in big trouble.
As an aside, let’s give credit where it’s due: every Yes vote was the deciding vote (roll call vote), including one of yours truly’s favorite targets – Jim Webb. Every broken clock is right twice a day.