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.
Don’t vote for it, Marco.
Libertarianism in the economic sphere is only sustainable when other voters are libertarians like you. Amnesty will conjure up millions of new voters from Latin American countries who think Chavez-style socialism is the answer. The reality is that the people we're importing from the region vote overwhelmingly Democratic, which is what you'd expect from people who are eligible for Federally-mandated ethnic quotas, which are Jim Crow in reverse. Southerners supported Jim Crow for close to a century because it provided concrete benefits. Why would we expect Hispanics to react any differently?
Suit yourself, but if we escape this damn campaign of his unscathed I don’t want him in a position to wreak this kind of damage on this country again.
Exactly! We've done a very good job but it's not over yet. Keep posting the emails, contact lists & petitions.
Can’t take credit—P.J. O’Rouke said it. (had a book by that name, I think.)
But, it FITS, doesn’t it?
Means nothing. Even if 20,000 more BP agents were authorized, the president and executive branch still has to hire and deploy new agents. There were increases authorized which W never hired and deployed.
Anyone placing bets that Obama would hire and effectively utilize 20,000 more BP agents?
A physical fence is about the only thing that, once in place, the politicians can't remove whenever they feel like it. And it would actually be effective.
Meanwhile in CT, Murphy’s staff will just hang up on you if you if you dare disagree.
P.J. ORourke...sorry. So pissed, I can’t spell!
61 or 62 fools.
Will they fund the “Welcome Wagons” for 20k new agents too?....No need for new agents when the policy is Welcome to America!
I have been reading about the vitriol which the pro immigration groups launch at anyone who wants to secure the border. The plan is to do the exact opposite, this is all ridiculous.
I hope the house passes a tiny immigration bill with some widely agreed upon fixes.
These mega “comprehensive bills” are a disaster.
Interesting how Rubio says one thing on Spanish TV in spanish, and then says something totally different to conservatives. How can anyone ever trust him again.
I'm not so sure. I knew from reading here at FR that Flake supported amnesty while he was still in the House, and definitely while he was running for the senate.
Arizona reelected the biggest amnesty pushing senator of all and then elected another to go with him after Kyl retired.
And they’ll be forbidden to check immigration status of anybody or deport them anyway. Holder’s job is to make sure that laws are not enforced.
If you have a large influx of illegals in your neighborhood, see if they suddenly start throwing off their hoodies, standing up straight and looking you in the eye. The ones I've seen in my environs have looked like the stereotypical border jumpers: bundled up in zippered sweatshirts with a baseball cap underneath and a backpack on their back. Will all that change as word works itself through the grapevine that the way is clear?
Maybe they are not as dumb as they seemed.
Although I always expected McConnell and Rand Paul to reject it so that is not any surprise.
>> Could this be Rubios plan all along.
Not a chance.