Skip to comments.Right rips Rubio as Republican immigration votes slip away
Posted on 06/19/2013 5:35:59 PM PDT by Sub-Driver
Right rips Rubio as Republican immigration votes slip away
By Alexander Bolton - 06/19/13 08:05 PM ET
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is feeling the heat as potential GOP allies are now turning against his immigration reform bill.
Republican colleagues who were previously viewed as possible yes votes are keeping their distance from the 1,075-page measure.
On Wednesday, conservative activists ripped Rubio and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) both sponsors of the bipartisan immigration measure at a Capitol Hill rally.
The crowd, which was protesting the bills effort to put millions of illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, booed at the mention of Rubios name during the six-hour event.
The rally underscored the mounting opposition to the immigration reform bill among both grassroots conservatives and GOP senators.
Potential Senate Republican backing for the legislation has begun to evaporate because of deep skepticism over its border-security and enforcement provisions.
In recent weeks, senators on both sides of the aisle speculated that 70 members of the upper chamber might vote for the Senate bill. That tally is now seen as unattainable.
Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and John Cornyn (Texas), who were once viewed as possible supporters of the bill, are now expected to reject it.
Rubio, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, is seen as essential to passing the measure, but his involvement hasnt persuaded many of his GOP colleagues to back it.
Many GOP senators say they want far more border-security provisions in the bill.
Republican Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and John Hoeven (N.D.) met Wednesday with members of the Gang of Eight, who drafted this bill, to negotiate a compromise on enforcement measures.
Corker told The Hill after the meeting that he and Hoeven thought there had been substantial breakthroughs with Democrats.
Corker and Hoeven declined to comment on the details of their proposal.
We had a very positive morning, and were all now talking within our caucuses, and Ill leave it at that, Corker said.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has strongly defended the border-security language in the bill, said, Im not talking about any specifics.
Senate Republican sources briefed on the talks said Corker, Hoeven and the Gang of Eight are mulling an increase of 20,000 border patrol agents along the southern border. This would nearly double the number of agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But the Corker-Hoeven push for allocating thousands of additional border agents appeared to change few minds within the Republican conference.
I didnt see it move many people. Its not going to get me to vote for it, said a lawmaker who attended a meeting at which Republican senators discussed the proposal. Im not going to vote for an immigration bill that doesnt have a metric for securing the border.
There is now growing uncertainty about whether Rubio in the face of sustained criticism on the right will end up voting for the Gang of Eights bill.
Rubio has declined to outline his plans, unlike other members of the Gang of Eight, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who have pledged their support.
Rubio ducked a question Sunday during an interview on ABCs This Week about whether he would vote for final passage.
I dont want to get involved in hypotheticals and ultimatums, he said.
He held to that line on Wednesday, telling a reporter, Ive already discussed it.
Rubio has said he wants to see what kind of improvements will be made to the legislation.
In response to the proposal to dramatically boost the number of border patrol agents, he said, Well have more to say about that later.
Rubio has endured a spate of critical press reports in recent days.
The New Yorkers Ryan Lizza reported that an unnamed Rubio aide told him in an interview that some American workers cant cut it as a rationale for giving visas to foreign workers.
Conservative press outlets who hold significant sway in presidential races have also criticized Rubio. For example, the right-leaning National Review has dubbed the senators efforts as Rubios folly.
Meanwhile, Rubio has distanced himself from other members of the Gang of Eight in recent weeks.
He has opted out of public appearances with them and did not join in Wednesdays meeting with Corker and Hoeven, according to a person who attended.
Rubios staff says he is still aggressively selling the bill to conservatives.
The Florida senator appeared Wednesday morning on a national radio talk show hosted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and was scheduled to give a television interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday evening.
Rubio remains popular in his home state, giving him leeway to take a gamble on pushing landmark legislation.
There are also signs the prominence hes taken in pushing immigration reform is doing him some political harm.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that Florida voters give him a 51 percent to 35 percent job approval rating.
Only 33 percent of all respondents said they approved of his handling of immigration reform, compared to 41 percent who disapproved.
Republicans, however, approved of his handling of immigration by a margin of 52 percent to 24 percent.
It appears increasingly unlikely the legislation will be able to meet the ambitious goal set by Schumer, McCain and Graham of passing with 70 votes.
Members of the Gang of Eight can now only be sure of 61 or 62 votes for final passage.
Obviously, we want to get as large a vote as possible. Were working on it. I think its clear theres like 61 or 62 votes. What we want to do is grow it as much as possible, McCain said.
McCain said he hoped the 70-vote goal was not overly ambitious.
The danger is that by setting such a lofty target at the outset, the bill may appear to be losing momentum if it barely clears the 60-vote threshold needed for passage.
Striking a deal with Corker and Hoeven on increasing border patrol agents by as many as 20,000 may not bring a flood of Republican votes, but at least it would secure the support of those two lawmakers.
That could, in turn, bring along Corkers home-state colleague, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a pragmatic deal-maker who leans toward the center.
Senate aides say if the Gang of Eight agrees to Corkers and Hoevens demands to boost federal spending on border security, they will be expected to vote yes.
One critic of the bill called the Corker-Hoeven proposal a desperate Hail Mary to increase Republican support.
The Gang of Eight rejected a proposal by Cornyn to add 5,000 border patrol agents along the southern border during last months Judiciary Committee markup.
Conservatives in states with senators weakening on this abomination need to turn up the heat NOW! Push them into the solid “NO!” column.
I’d like to help but Juan McCain and his little buddy, the Flakester are beyond hope. They’re both ready for the loony bin.
This Democrat voter drive bill MUST be defeated!
The good news is that Rubio has clearly shown us what he is so there is no doubt he should NEVER be considered for higher office.
And HOW did Arizona end up with this out and out CLOWN, with the idiot grin?
I know, I know....East Mesa voters.
But the rest of the State can't be that far gone...whatta mistake
“Senate Republican sources briefed on the talks said Corker, Hoeven and the Gang of Eight are mulling an increase of 20,000 border patrol agents along the southern border. This would nearly double the number of agents along the U.S.-Mexico border. “
Oh spare me. More bullshit window dressing on this pig of a bill. The agents will never be hired.
Rubios boat sprang a leak and there’s no land for miles. I hope he is not re-elected.
The wetback amnesty bill's future....and Rubio's career prospects (as a Republican,at least).
It's quite clear that Amnesty was the only reason he ran for office.
So now he's prey, and vulnerable to being Primaried.
West is talking about it and that's really great, but I suspect there are others who can displace Mr. Rubio.
Either way, he's on his way to political oblivion.
Could this be Rubios plan all along.
He was pushing the crap in the bill out in the open. Nothing
better than letting the media use a republican to lead the
charge in exposing it. Tact? Maybe.
And the “8” ball says, “Concentrate and ask again”
Rubio as president? No. Primary him out of the senate. We do not need this intern to the POS McCain anywhere near Washington.
What is wrong with congress?
Like father, like son. Jake wasn’t all that bright either. He pimped the 86 cents a pack tax on Arizona smokers. I imagine he would have gone after a big tax on coffee and Coca Cola if he had stayed around a little longer. And yes about those East Mesa voters.
Good news! Keep up the pressure people!
We've got to stop kidding ourselves about these guys.
I can’t believe so many Tea Party groups went to bat for this guy during his Senate campaign... the political equivalent of buying a lemon, I guess.
Yes, keep up the pressure. This is too important to not
be involved. Instant citizenship/instant benefits.
Stop this bill/then we can primary the ones who betray us.
Parliment of WHORES.
So may could not stand Charlie Crist.
Rubio betrayed many here in Florida.