The Senate passed a key procedural hurdle to immigration reform this evening.
Senators leading the debate on immigration have long argued that seventy votes would force the GOP controlled House to take up the Senate version.
The amendment that passed tonight fell three short of that threshold. But at 67, it cruised to passage. Fifteen Republicans voted for cloture as did every Democrat.
The Republican written provision would send billions of dollars to the southern border. The money would pay for hundreds of miles of fencing, tens of thousands of new Border Patrol agents and technology like drones to police illegal crossings.
It’s a sign that passage of the final bill in the Senate is guaranteed by the end of the week. Both Senators Murkowski and Begich signed onto the bill.
The so-called border surge amendment – labeled after the Iraqi troop surge – includes language that Alaska’s fish processors sought. It allows them to continue recruiting foreign workers who come to Alaska on student visas.
Attention will soon shift to the House, where Speaker John Boehner says he will not take up the Senate measure.