With a backdrop of supporters in the gallery chanting President Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, “Yes we can! Yes we can!”, the U.S. Senate declared that immigration reform passed by a vote of 68-32.
The bill now moves to the to the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, where its fate and that of Speaker John Boehner may prove to be intertwined.
Vice President Joe Biden, presiding in his constitutional capacity as head of the Senate, announced the vote total. Fourteen Republican senators voted in favor of the measure.
Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a key opponent of the legislation, said “this bill must never become law.”
“The more people learned about the bill the more uneasy they became,” he said in response to the outcome. “Failure to reach 70 votes is significant, and ensures the House has plenty of space to chart an opposite course and reject this fatally flawed proposal.”
The vote promises to impact the 2016 presidential election as Sen. Marco Rubio voted in favor of the bill, while Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz voted against it. All three are potential contenders for the GOP nomination.
As for the House, Boehner said on Thursday that he does not plan to bring an immigration reform bill to the floor without a majority of Republicans supporting it — this being the so-called “Hastert Rule.”
As seen in the video below, freshman Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) said he thinks Boehner would be removed from speaker if a bill is brought to the House floor without a Republican majority.
“If Speaker Boehner moves forward and permits this to come to a vote even though a majority of Republicans in the House oppose whatever is coming to a vote, he should be removed as speaker,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
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