The Senate is going to start what’s being characterized in some quarters as a “free-for-all” immigration debate Monday.
In the words of a senior Senate aide, Mitch McConnell will effectively tell his colleagues: “Listen boys and girls, you all have lots of different ideas about what should be done on immigration. So put your big boy and big girl pants on, and put your ideas on the floor for a vote. Do your best; try to get to 60 votes to pass a bill.”
Other Republicans are saying that McConnell is refusing to show is cards, “trying to be an honest broker in this and just make sure that he treats people fairly. I’m sure he has his preferences. I’ve never heard him express them, exactly.” That’s from South Dakota Sen. John Thune, McConnell’s third-in-command. But here’s the rub—which you knew was coming:
But McConnell does want strong GOP backing for any final bill and will be loath to pass anything that can’t get at least 30 Senate Republicans in support, according to two Republican senators.. That might go a long way toward insulating his party from conservative criticism, as well as winning over President Donald Trump and House Republicans.
A 30-vote floor for Republican support is not an open process. It’s not as blatant as House Speaker Paul Ryan’s insistence that he’ll only bring a bill that Trump will sign to the floor, but it’s still an effort to thwart Democrats and a humane outcome for immigrant families.