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DREAM Act showdown: Dems hold defense bill hostage to social justice; Update: Cloture vote FAILS 56-43, now pass a clean bill; Reid vows: “We’re going to vote on the DREAM Act. It’s only a question of when;” Murkowski skipped vote

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 21, 2010 10:05 AM

Scroll for updates…10:53am Eastern…Confirmed w/Ark.Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor’s office…he’s a NO on DREAM Act amndt…see updated phone list below for more…vote reportedly pushed back to 2:30pm Eastern…trouble in Reid-land?…12:02pm Collins is a no on cloture…so is Voinovich…Biden tried to woo Collins in phone call, failed…2:58pm Eastern Cloture vote FAILS to reach 60-vote threshold, GOP sticks together…now pass a clean bill…the roll call vote is here

Today’s the day. Harry Reid and the Dems have bogged down the defense authorization bill not only with the open-borders DREAM Act amendment, but also with a provision to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. As I told you yesterday, the vote is scheduled for 2:15pm Eastern.

Just a few key reminders from my illegal alien student bailout column last week:

*The broadly-drafted Senate bill would confer benefits on applicants up to age 35 and the House bill contains no age ceiling at all.

*The academic achievement requirements are minimal.

*Moreover, illegal aliens who didn’t arrive in the country until they turned 15 – after they laid down significant roots in their home country – would be eligible for DREAM Act benefits and eventual U.S. citizenship.

*Like past amnesty packages, the Democrat plan is devoid of any concrete eligibility and enforcement mechanisms to deter already-rampant immigration benefit fraud.

*DREAM Act illegal alien beneficiaries would not be eligible for Pell educational grants, but would be eligible for other federal scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.

Sabotaging the deliberative process once again, Harry Reid plans on severely limiting debate today — which would have taken more than week if the Dems’ social justice agenda weren’t the driving force. GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions blasts the corrupted process:

…Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who does not support the measure, underscored why some of its supporters may not support Reid’s effort, as Senate Majority Leader, to amend the defense-authorization bill (S. 3454) with the measure in a statement Monday.

“The Majority Leader is preparing to significantly limit debate on the annual defense bill so that he can ram through two controversial election-year priorities: repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law and enactment of a controversial amnesty program known as the DREAM Act. In doing so, he is ignoring the clear wishes of the American people and demonstrating that Washington remains deeply out of touch with everyday Americans,” said Sessions, who is ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

He added: “The Democrats’ effort to tack the DREAM Act onto the unrelated defense bill is a transparent attempt to force a controversial immigration amnesty program on the American people–a measure that the Senate has repeatedly rejected when considered by itself.”

The move circumvents proper debate of the defense authorization bill, which normally would take a week or more, as Reid has vowed to limit debate and block most amendments to speed the bill through the Senate, Sessions argued. Reid plans to allow votes on the DREAM Act, the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ measure to legalize gay military service members, and an amendment to block abortions in military hospitals.

Sessions also attacked the bill on its merits, saying it would provide amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and offer in-state college tuition to people who do not deserve it….

Particularly noxious: The same leftist agitators on high school and college campuses who have fought for years to demonize and eject military recruiters are now openly exploiting the military– their own words, not mine — for amnesty:

DREAMers, as the bill’s youth activists are often called, are hoping to exploit the military service provision in the DREAM Act that’s been contentious in progressive circles, and therefore not much discussed. “The reality is that on our end, our messaging has ignored the military option,” DREAM Act activist Mohammad Abdollahi said, acknowledging that it’s an uncomfortable alliance especially for communities of color who are often targeted by military recruiters.

Today, reporters heard from Yahaira Carrillo, who spoke at a DREAM Act kickoff event today. Carrillo was one of four other activists who risked deportation when they were arrested after staging a sit-in in Sen. John McCain’s Arizona office on May 17. Carrillo, who’s lived in the country for 18 years, recalled the crushing conversation with a high school ROTC instructor who told her it was no use continuing in the program because she’d never be able to serve in the military. “If and when the DREAM Act is passed,” she said, “I will still consider joining the military. Because I love this country that much, that I want to serve.”

I reported yesterday that GOP Sens. Johanns, Hutchison, and Brown are all no votes on the DREAM Act. This morning, NUMBERSUSA adds that GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe is also a “likely” no vote on cloture because of the limited debate:

Sen. Snowe has crossed party lines a number of times during the 111th Congress, and she’s been a fence-sitter when it comes to Dream and the Defense bill, but she said that she can’t support the bill if Majority Leader Reid only allows three amendments.

“First and foremost, the Senate should have the ability to debate more than the three amendments the Majority Leader is allowing,” Sen. Olympia Snowe said. “It is therefore imperative that Senate deliberations on the defense bill be conducted without limitations and in a manner that allows for the consideration of all related amendments that Senators may wish to offer.”

The Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture for the Defense bill at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Sixty votes are required to open floor debate on the bill. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who chairs the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said a vote on an amendment that adds the DREAM Act to the Defense bill will be the first vote taken if cloture passes.

Keep melting the phones (h/t NUMBERSUSA):

DEMOCRATS ON THE FENCE WHO ARE GOOD PROSPECTS

Sen. Pryor of Arkansas 202-224-2353
501-324-6336

Update MM: Pryor is a NO on the DREAM Act

Sen. Landrieu of Louisiana 202-224-5824
225-389-0395

Sen. Stabenow of Michigan 202-224-4822
313-961-4330

Sen. McCaskill of Missouri 202-224-6154
314-367-1364

Sen. Baucus of Montana 202-224-2651
406-657-6790

Sen. Tester of Montana 202-224-2644
406-449-5401

Sen. Conrad of North Dakota 202-224-2043
701-258-4648

Sen. Dorgan of North Dakota 202-224-2551
701-239-5389

REPUBLICANS ON THE FENCE WHO ARE GOOD PROSPECTS

Sen. LeMeiux of Florida 202-224-3041
904-398-8586

UPDATE 12:17pm Eastern – LeMeiux on Senate floor announces he is “sympathetic” to DREAM Act, but will vote no on cloture over process objections

UPDATE MM: STILL A FENCE SITTER AS OF TUESDAY 11:13am

Sen. Collins of Maine 202-224-2523

UPDATE MM: Collins is a no on cloture 12:02pm Eastern
207-945-0417

Sen. Snowe of Maine 202-224-5344
207-874-0883

Update MM: Snowe will vote AGAINST cloture for the bill based on process objections.

Sen. Brown of Massachusetts 202-224-4543
617-565-3170

Update MM: Brown will vote AGAINST the bill.

Sen. Johanns of Nebraska 202-224-4224
402-758-8981

Update MM: Johanns’ office tells callers Monday morning that he will vote AGAINST the bill.

Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire 202-224-3324
603-225-7115

Sen. Hutchison of Texas 202-224-5922
214-361-3500

Update MM: Hutchison will vote AGAINST cloture for the bill.

TOUGHER UNCOMMITTED TARGETS
– CAN YOU PERSUADE THEM?

Your first and most important phone calls are to the Senators above.

ACTION: The following list is of Senators who have shown a real proclivity toward amnesty but seem to have remained uncommitted. Under the pressure of the impending November elections, some of these Senators could be persuaded to vote NO.

I would emphasize with them that a controversial bill like this has no business being put inside a Defense bill, regardless of how they may feel about the amnesty itself.

REPUBLICANS

Sen. Murkowski of Alaska 202-224-6665
907-271-3735

Sen. Brownback of Kansas 202-224-6521
785-233-2503

UPDATE MM 11:15am Tuesday: Brownback will vote against cloture based on process objections

Sen. Voinovich of Ohio 202-224-3353
614-469-6697

DEMOCRATS

Sen. Begich of Alaska 202-224-3004
907-271-5915

Sen. Shaheen of New Hampshire 202-224-2841
603-647-7500

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico 202-224-6621
505-346-6791

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio 202-224-2315
216-522-7272

Sen. Wyden of Oregon 202-224-5244
503-326-7525

Sen. Casey of Pennsylvania 202-224-6324
412-803-7370

Sen. Johnson of South Dakota 202-224-5842
605-332-8896

Sen. Warner of Virginia 202-224-2023
804-775-2314

Sen. Webb of Virginia 202-224-4024
703-573-7090

Sen. Goodwin of West Virginia 202-224-3954
304-342-5855

Sen. Rockefeller of West Virginia 202-224-6472
304-347-5372

SENATORS WHO ARE CO-SPONSORING THE ‘DREAM’ AMNESTY

Once you have done what you can with phone calls to the Senators on the lists above, you should look through this list to see who is causing all this problem by pushing so hard to give 2 million more permanent work permits to illegal aliens to compete with 22 million American and legal immigrant workers who can’t find a job.

You can reach these through the Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or in our Congress directory (I apologize that this directory is loading sluggishly today).

Give special attention to Boxer, Gillibrand, Lincoln and Mikulski, all of whom are running for re-election in November.

Sen. Lugar of Indiana 202-224-4814
317-226-5555
GOP co-sponsor of the DREAM Act with Durbin


(AR) Lincoln

(CA) Boxer
(CA) Feinstein
(CO) Bennet (not Bennett of Utah)
(CO) Udall (not Udall of New Mexico)
(CT) Dodd
(CT) Lieberman

(DE) Carper
(DE) Kaufman

(FL) Nelson

(HI) Akaka
(HI) Inouye

(IL) Burris
(IL) Durbin
(IN) Bayh
(IN) Lugar
(IA) Harkin

(MD) Cardin
(MD) Mikulski
(MA) Kerry
(MI) Levin
(MN) Franken
(MN) Klobuchar

(NV) Reid
(NJ) Lautenberg
(NJ) Menendez
(NM) Bingaman
(NY) Gillibrand
(NY) Schumer

(OR) Merkley

(PA) Specter

(RI) Reed
(RI) Whitehouse

(VT) Leahy
(VT) Sanders

(WA) Cantwell
(WA) Murray
(WI) Feingold

***

Update 11:30am McConnell on the Senate floor…

“The defense authorization bill requires four or five weeks to debate at a minimum.

“But instead of having that debate or turning to the Defense Appropriations Bill which funds the military, they want to use this week for a political exercise they want to weigh this bill down with controversy in a transparent attempt to show their special interest groups that they haven’t forgotten about them ahead of the election.

“It’s astonishing, really.

“Democrats have called up this bill not to have a vote on it or to consider amendments to help our troops in the field, but to put on a show to use it as an opportunity to cast votes for things Americans either don’t want or aren’t interested in seeing attached to a bill that’s supposed to be about defense.

“The Majority Leader has already said this bill isn’t going to pass with these items attached to it before the election but he’s keeping them on there anyway.

“So this is not a serious exercise. It’s a show.

“And it’s because of shows like this that our friends have lost credibility with the public.

“Americans want us to take care of the basics and to do it competently.

“This isn’t too much to ask.

“But evidently, it’s too much to ask of Democrat leaders in Congress before the election.”

Update 11:41am Eastern: CNN reporting that vote has been pushed back 1/2 hour to 2:30pm Eastern. Trouble for Reid? Keep dialing!

Update 12:28pm Eastern: GOP Sen Chambliss calls out Reid for parliamentary trick limiting amendments. “Filling the tree.” See background here.

Update 12:48pm Eastern Turncoat GOP Sen. Voinovich decides he’ll stick with the elephants today and vote against cloture over process objections.

Update 2:43pm Eastern The cloture vote is now underway…Reid refused to strip immigration provisions…

2:58pm Eastern Cloture vote FAILS to reach 60-vote threshold, GOP sticks together…now pass a clean bill and do it the right way.

FYI: Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor voted no, joining all Republicans. Murkowski is out all week and missed the vote.

Reid voted no in order to file a motion to reconsider. Dick Durbin took the floor after the vote to lament the fate of his DREAM Act nightmare.

Reid: “We’re going to vote on the DREAM Act. It’s only a question of when.”

Durbin: “It’s a matter of American justice” to pass the illegal alien student bailout.

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