Not to 70

by Will Allen

Appearing on Sean Hannity’s eponymous radio program this evening, Senators Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and David Vitter (R., La.) expressed hope that the S. 744 comprehensive immigration bill currently wending its way through the Senate will ultimately fail to become law.  The pair emphasized that yesterday’s approval of the Corker-Hoeven amendment fell short of the 70-vote goal set by Gang of Eight leader Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.); the measure passed 67-27.  Vitter reminded Hannity that “The proponents have been saying for weeks that they could get over 70 votes . . . they are not there yet.”  He called the failure to reach Schumer’s highly-publicized target “a big difference in terms of momentum in the House.”

Sessions derided the Corker-Hoeven amendment, which is intended to strengthen border security, as “a Hail Mary” attempt to save an effort that would otherwise have failed.  He emphasized that the Obama administration has proven unwilling to adequately enforce even current border-security laws: “Within a year or two, we could have a huge difference at the border [if existing laws were observed].  We could make the E-verify employment system much, much better.  The fact that they won’t do that is indicative of a lack of will” in the White House, he said.

The southerners also expressed doubt as to whether all the Republicans who voted “Yes” on Corker-Hoeven would rally to the overall bill.  Vitter opined that “Most of those ‘Yes’ votes yesterday are in play,” and he said of Mississippi senator Roger Wicker, “I’d personally be surprised if he votes ‘Yes’ on the final bill.”