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.
Dem presidential ticket for 2016: Rubio and Christie
What a crock. There aren't likely to be any kind of improvements, Senator, because you keep voting against amendments to fix what's wrong with it!
Well, I’m not too sure anymore about Rubio (I thought he was the real deal, now I’m not so sure) but I’m not in agreement with the conservative “party line” on immigration either. I’m a libertarian in belief and a Republican in party, so I guess that makes me a feewheelin’ boy - free enough to believe and stand for what I believe American values are all about: life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue your dreams without government interference (or “help”).
Rube-E I E I O.
Fool was played by the Bushes.
He was a pretty good Representative, so it came as quite a surprise when he turned on a dime before he was even sworn in.
Unions. They want the money and ‘community activists’ on the ground.
Fat chance now. He's a traitor to those who worked so hard to get him elected Senator. They won't be working for him again.
Perhaps he can get a batch of illegal aliens to do the heavy lifting next time.
They don’t let the existing agents DO THEIR JOB anyway, so who cares if they hire more?
That's a crock of sh!t. He joined the Democrats in killing Grassley's amendment that would require border security before the amnesty.
We will never see a reform package without amnesty, because the rest is always window dressing to achieve amnesty.
Love it! I will use that henceforth to refer to the
world’s greatest deliberative body. I’m not kidding either.
Sarah Palin endorsed him, so he fooled a lot of people. As an Arizona resident, now, she should have run for that seat, herself. Now she has to wait for Uncle Crankypants to retire from the other seat. :)
Rubio is going to be Hilary’s VP on a bi-partisan ticket.
Oh God, he's fossilized...gonna be another Strom Thurmond, carry him outta the Senate in a box
I’m of Hispanic blood and heritage and I agree. Sink this bill.
Bob Bauer—remember that name:
“We’ve got to stop kidding ourselves about these guys.”
All we have to do is turn the tide. Once we get the trend
moving and these jacka$$ moderates and not so moderates
think that its to their benefit to go conservative they will.
I’m not ready to write off Rubio yet. Let him learn his lesson.
If it sinks in he, may turn out all right.
If it doesn’t then he can go spoon a goose.
“He joined the Democrats in killing Grassley’s amendment that would require border security before the amnesty.”
And without that I don’t think it will pass. Do You?
Rubio is a RINO who can speak Spanish.
no kidding but folks are going to have to give some yes/no questionaires that will BOX IN ANYONE WANTING A JOB IN DC. on immigration like:
“Do you believe Barbara Jordan was correct in saying: “deportation is crucial”?