The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to allow the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform bill to “come to the Senate Floor.” What does this mean? Absolutely nothing!
Well, actually it does mean something. It means that the Senate of the United States – the 100 Senators (2 from each state) – has decided to have a full debate on the bill that was approved several weeks ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
We can expect several weeks of debate and procedural actions before the Senate is ready to take a final vote on the bill. All of the action will be carried live on C-Span2, and it may prove to be interesting theatre, especially when votes are called. However, most of the debate will consist of one or several Senators standing alone in the empty Senate Chamber speaking about one or more aspects of the bill, addressing the President of the Senate (the individual with the gavel sitting high above the Floor) and colleagues as if the entire Senate was present.
While the Senate acts, the House of Representatives still lacks its own Gang of Eight (now Gang of Seven) legislation. It is only after both the Senate and House have passed separate pieces of legislation that the respective bills will be sent to a conference committee where differences are hammered out and a compromise bill is agreed upon.
This means that we still have quite a ways to go, even if the Senate does its part and passes a bill before the July 4 recess.
Drop us an email at MI@Mooers.net to let us know how you feel about this.