The Senate has taken another step toward approving a sweeping immigration overhaul bill, as the legislation passed an essential test Monday evening. By a vote of 67-27, the chamber voted to include an amendment on border security to the final bill.
The margin of the vote means the measure cannot be the target of a filibuster. The Hill reports:
"Fifteen of the yes votes were Republicans, suggesting supporters could hit the 70-vote threshold they hope to reach in the final vote. It is thought a big, bipartisan vote could put pressure in the GOP-held House, where immigration reform faces dimmer prospects."
Senate records for the bill, titled the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), show that it has already attracted at least 150 proposed amendments.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he wants the chamber to finish its work on the bill before the July 4 recess.
Leading the votes against the legislation were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., his deputy, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., along with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who introduced an amendment to the bill Monday aimed at strengthening an electronic verification system for potential employees.
Senate passage on Thursday or Friday would send the issue to the House, where conservative Republicans in the majority oppose citizenship for anyone living in the country illegally.