senators after vote

Senators Collins and Manchin (R() do not look happy

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Yesterday the United States Senate failed itself. By not finding an immigration reform that it could support with 60 voters, the men and women of our “greatest deliberative body” walked away from the needs of the nation it is supposed to represent.

Almost 90 percent of the nation’s voters support granting the 1.8 million kids of “DACA” (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) a path to citizenship. If the nation’s legislature cannot enact laws that almost 90 percent of its voters want, it is time to vote that legislature out and vote into it legislators who will enact such a law.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California three months ago suggested a “clean DACA bill” : a simple bill that would establish the rules for that pathway to citizenship, one that involved a wait of five years, payment of taxes, and clean criminal record during the waiting period. Why was such bill not presented for a vote ?

Instead of enacting the law, as our Congress has the power to do, Senators decided to involve Mr. Trump. It proved a fatal mistake. Their offer included granting Mr. Trump’s request for billions of dollars to fund added “border security,” which had nothing to do with the DACA issue at hand. Who among us was surprised that Mr. Trump not only took that offer but added to it additional measures of his own ? Measures that he had to know the offerees could not and would not accept ?

Mr. Trump proceeded to do all in his power to prevent the Senate from enacting a DACA bill other than his. It worked, even if his DACA bill received fewer votes than the Senate’s two versions of its own.

But if the Senate probably would have enacted a DACA bill had not Mr. Trump interfered, that does not excuse the Senate. The Senate does not work for Mr. Trump. It makes laws by its won powers granted it in the Constitution. The Senate had every power to Pass a bill and send it to the House. It failed.

The bill presented by the Senate’s “Compromise Caucus” came the closest. It received 54 Yes votes. Here is a list of the 45 Senators — 3 Democrats and 42 Republicans) who voted no (John McCain did not vote because he is at home trying to defeat the brain cancer that has had him since the middle of last year.)

Enzi and Barrasso (WY) Risch and Crapo (ID) Hoeven (ND) Thune (SD) Fischer and Sasse (NE) Ernst and Grassley (IA) Portman (OH) Toomey (PA) Burr and Tillis (NC) Scott (SC) Perdue (GA) Rubio (FL:) Wicker and Cochran (MS) Shelby (AL) Corker (TN) Cotton and Hutchinson (AR) McConnell and Paul (KY) Young (IN) Cruz and Cornyn (TX); Lankford and Imhofe (OK); Moran and Roberts (KS); Lee and Hatch (UT); Blount (MO); Daines (MT); Cassidy and Kennedy (LA); Johnson (WI): Heller (NV); Sullivan (AK); Capito (WV); Heinrich and Udall (NM); Harris (CA) 

And this is a list of the 54 who voted Yes — 8 Republicans, 2 Independents, and 44 Democrats. We owe them a thank you :

Isakson (GA); Graham (SC); Nelson (FL); Jones (AL); Alexander (TN); Kaine and Warner (VA); Cardin and Van Hollen (MD); Coons and Carper (DE); Casey (PA); Brown (OH); Menendez and Booker (NJ); Gillibrand and Schumer (NY); Warren and Markey (MA); Blumenthal and Murphy (CT); Reed and Whitehouse (RI); Collins and King (ME); Shaheen and Hassan (NH); Sanders and Leahy (VT); Stabenow and Peters (MI); Baldwin (WI); Smith and Klobuchar (MN); Duckworth and Durbin (IL); McCaskill (MO); Rounds (SD); Murkowski (AK); Cantwell and Murray (WA); Wyden and Merkley (OR); Feinstein (CAS): Hirono and Schatz (HI); Flake (AZ); Cortez-Masto (NV); Gardner and Bennett (CO); Manchin (WV); Donnelly (IN); Heitkamp (ND); Tester (MT). 

Where do we go from here ? I don’t know. Mr. Trump wants even legal immigrants gone, especially those from countries where people have dark skin or worship religions other than Christian. He doesn’t care how much suffering he works upon them or how ill his bigotry makes our nation look to the world. The Senate could stop him; but it did not, and from all indications, the House actually agrees with his ugly view of the world and its people.

Dark times lie ahead for the kids of DACA and for our nation, stuck in fear and unable to be itself, its envisioning, its readiness to dream the big dreams that make our nation something special and worth fighting for.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere


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