Don’t expect to see a big public backlash to the Senate immigration bill on cable news this week: The Republicans who voted for the bill are laying low.
None of the Republican members of the Gang of Eight (Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona) have any public events scheduled. Rubio is on a long-planned vacation with his family. Graham and McCain are overseas. Flake is traveling and “out of pocket,” an aide said.
As for the two authors of the “border surge” amendment, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is spending time with family before departing for an overseas trip, while Senator John Hoeven is holding several events back home, including a roundtable on energy policy, a tour of an Air Force base, andan appearance at a July 4th parade.
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is up for reelection in 2014 and whom state sources say has been keeping a frenetic travel pace, is devoting the week to longstanding July 4th plans with his family, his spokesman said.
Senators Kelly Ayotte, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Chiesa have no public events scheduled. Senators Dean Heller of Nevada and Susan Collins of Maine are both appearing in July 4th parades but otherwise have no public events scheduled. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Chicago this morning but has no other events scheduled.
Of the 14 Republican “yes” votes, only Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski had a robust schedule full of appearances. Murkowski is holding 15 events in six cities, and her office also sent an endearing photograph of her riding in a boat in the rain to one of the events.
None of the others are holding a single town-hall-type event, which might give opponents of the bill a venue to air criticisms. Granted, senators tend to hold fewer town halls than House members. Also, the week is interrupted by the July 4th holiday on Thursday, a day on which most people wouldn’t want to attend a town hall. And it’s not as if these senators will be able to escape interaction with the public forever; there will undoubtedly be more events in the future.
Still, it’s a notable pattern, and probably one that will help avoid a narrative of backlash for at least this week – the week immediately after the bill passed the Senate.