Chad’s Morning Brief: Immigration Bill Passes Key Test Vote, Texas Democrats Approach Abortion Victory, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 25, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or with the radioPup App.
1. Rubio, Senate Advances Immigration Bill (link)
Pass the bill, then you can find out what's in it. That's exactly what the Senate plans on doing with the Immigration Bill. Senator Rubio along with the rest of the Gang of 8 helped advance the bill today on a key test vote.
The Senate voted 67-27 to advance an amendment that was only submitted late last week. Critics complained that the Senate was voting on the 119-page proposal before having a chance to analyze it.
"This is exactly what happened with ObamaCare," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., one of the most vocal critics of the bill. He warned the chamber was voting on a bill "no one has read."
But the tally late Monday was a positive sign for supporters of the legislation. Fifteen Republicans voted in favor of it.
The vote -- which was technically a vote to shut down debate on the amendment -- needed 60 senators to proceed. That it attracted 67 senators effectively demonstrates the entire bill likely has more than enough votes to pass the chamber. Supporters hope it will also nudge the House to act, though that could be a tough sell.
"The bill has been dramatically improved with this vote," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a co-sponsor of the amendment, said Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to tee up a vote on final passage before the Fourth of July recess.
Ahead of the vote, President Obama urged Congress to act.
"Now is the time to get comprehensive immigration reform done," he said.
The measure voted on Monday includes changes to the original border security provisions in the bill that would double the size of the U.S. Border Patrol at a cost of around $30 billion and complete 700 miles of fencing. At the same time it sets out a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally, who would be permitted to get permanent resident green cards only once all the border changes had been put in place, about a decade after enactment of the legislation.
Sessions and other lawmakers, though, warned that the mass legalization could happen even if the border security measures were not fully implemented.
Despite Monday's Senate vote, the bill still faces uncertain prospects in the House, where many conservatives oppose citizenship for people in this country illegally. The House Judiciary Committee has been passing narrowly focused, single-issue immigration bills -- in contrast to the Senate's comprehensive approach -- and Speaker House Boehner, R-Ohio, has not indicated how he'll proceed.
Negotiations between the two chambers are not expected until the fall at earliest, and opponents of the legislation are predicting it will be stopped in the House.
"It's dead on arrival in the House," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on Sunday.
But the sponsors behind the border security amendment -- Sens. Corker and John Hoeven, R-N.D. -- staunchly defended their effort ahead of Monday's vote.
"I've seen reports of a '1,200 page bill' no one has read or had time to read," Corker said in a statement, presumably in response to Sessions. "To be clear, the tough border and interior enforcement provisions that Sen. Hoeven and I offered on Friday make up 119 pages added to the 1,100 pages that have been public since May."
His office said the proposal would require an "unprecedented surge of security" on the border.
I am extremely disappointed in Senator Marco Rubio. Luckily the House will have their chance at securing the border first.
2. Abortion Victory for Texas Democrats? (link)
Texas Democrats aren't happy about a bill that would make it illegal to have an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Though they are outnumbered, it appears as though Senate Democrats will have a victory today. The unborn children? Not so much.
Using delaying tactics and parliamentary rules, the minority party argued into the wee hours in the state House on Monday morning and then stuck together to keep the GOP from jamming Senate Bill 5 through the Senate in the afternoon and evening. Republicans vowed to try to muster enough support to push the bill through Monday night, but that effort failed. And Democrats are prepared for a final talk-a-thon Tuesday that could spell death — for now — for the bill.
SB 5, by state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks and would establish stringent new requirements for facilities that perform abortions. Supporters of the bill say it would make the procedures safer for women and protect unborn babies. Abortion rights proponents say the legislation would shut down most of the abortion facilities in Texas.
With barely more than a day left in the 30-day special session called by Gov. Rick Perry at the end of May, that means Democrats have moved much closer to putting the controversial measure within the range of a filibuster.
“I think we are now in a position to try to do what’s right for the women of this state,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “We need to be protecting women’s health in this state, and we need to be protecting a woman’s right to make choices about her body.”
I'd like to know when Democrats think it's no longer okay for a woman to have an abortion. What is the magical week? Is it week 21? 22? 30? When do Democrats draw the line? Democrats love to say, "if it saves just one life", but do they even believe that? 20 weeks is a long time. Why is it that Democrats want to restrict responsible adults yet give passes to the irresponsible? Maybe the Republicans in Texas should test the Dems. Maybe the Republicans should test the Democrats to see what week they are okay with banning abortion after. I bet the Democrats would protest all the way up until the baby is born, and in some cases, even after.
3. Students Opinions on Affirmative Action Ruling (link)
The LA Times found students to give their opinions on Affirmative Action. One makes sense. The other, not so much. The great thing in this story is the the girl who supports Affirmative Action. She wants to see more diversity at UT. Meanwhile, she is the President of a black student group. Where is the diversity in her group?
Eric Hall, who leads the Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at UT Dallas, said he was disappointed the court had not struck down the university's affirmative action program outright, referring the decision instead to a lower court for more scrutiny.
“But they did make a good step in turning it back to the lower court, and hopefully they’ll do the right thing this time and get rid of the program,” Hall said.
Hall, a black graduate student from North Texas studying political science and constitutional law, called affirmative action “redundant.”
“I wish they’d said affirmative action is just constitutionally wrong,” he told The Times, describing UT Austin as “one of the most diverse campuses” he's seen.
Hall, 35, said affirmative action undermines his legitimacy on campus. Before he started graduate school, he served in the Army, in the infantry, including 15 months in Iraq and three years in Germany, where he said he felt he was judged more fairly based on his abilities.
"It can kind of have a stigma and make you feel like you didn’t work as hard," Hall said of affirmative action. "I’ve worked just as hard as my white counterparts — that’s one of the reasons I liked the military. It didn’t matter what color you were. The opportunities are there if you make them.”
But other students disagreed and defended the university's affirmative action program. They wanted the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the university.
UT Austin student Delanecia Holley, 21, told The Times that affirmative action is still needed on campus.
"Until I can walk into one of my business classes and not be the only black woman, then we can discuss whether it’s not necessary anymore. It’s 2013 and we want to say it’s not needed anymore, but when we're walking around, that’s not the case, especially at UT," said Holley, a business major and rising senior from Dallas.
"If anything, I think we should be questioning whether they’re taking enough strides to have diversity on campus," said Holley, president of Texas Gospel Fellowship, a black student Bible study group with about 100 members.
Holley said she had a recent run-in with a white professor who implied she and other black students hadn't earned their place at the university.
"We’re still struggling, we still face racism. It’s not over once we get here -- it’s still a fight," Holley said. "When people are thinking about affirmative action and is it fair, we need to step away from thinking about what people might be missing out on because they’re not black and look at our nation as a whole, at the difference between living black and white."
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