The Senate is expected to have the cloture vote on the DREAM Act around 4 p.m. EST today.
“Democrats are expected to fail,” a senate GOP aide tells me, adding that without the Bush tax cut extension passed, all 42 GOP senators presumably remain bound to the pledge they made last week to block any other legislation. He adds that the seven Senate Democrats who have previously voted against the bill will “be in a tough place to support it,” considering how it has been argued by some to be an amnesty plan. “So the prospects are looking poor in the Senate,” he notes.
“I don’t see that there is any way that it can pass in the Senate,” agrees Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA. She points out that so far, only Sen. Bob Bennett (R., Utah) among Republicans has announced he will vote for the bill. Even Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Indiana), formerly an advocate of the measure, has not announced his vote. Jenks sees Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as the only GOP senators who may vote for the bill. “Even if all of them vote for it, there are still three Democrats — at least three Democrats — that will vote against it,” she remarks.
“If the Republicans all stick together, once it becomes clear that cloture will fail, I think you will see an increasing number of Democrats changing their votes or voting no straight out,” Jenks adds.
Jenks thinks it’s “up in the air” in the House, but notes that Nancy Pelosi no longer has any leverage over Blue Dog Democrats who have been defeated.
UPDATE: Reid has announced he will not hold the cloture vote until after the House votes, which is expected to be today.