Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday forced a vote on cloture for the Defense authorization bill he planned to load up with amendments for unpopular, left-wing policies aimed directly at motivating turnout for his own failing reelection bid.
Democrat strategists were cringing nationwide.
The cloture vote fell four short of the required 60 votes on the motion to proceed to the bill by a vote of 56-43. Democrat Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln voted with all Republicans to stop the measure from moving forward. Reid voted no for procedural reasons that would allow him to again bring up the bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the former Republican from Alaska, did not vote.
Just before the vote began, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered a unanimous consent agreement to consider the bill that would have restricted the first tranche of 20 amendments to be related to defense spending only, blocking the amnesty bill from inclusion.
“Instead of having that debate or turning to the Defense appropriations bill which funds the military, they want to use this week for a political exercise they want to weigh this bill down with controversy in a transparent attempt to show their special interest groups that they haven’t forgotten about them ahead of the election. It’s astonishing, really,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “Democrats have called up this bill not to have a vote on it or to consider amendments to help our troops in the field, but to put on a show to use it as an opportunity to cast votes for things Americans either don’t want or aren’t interested in seeing attached to a bill that’s supposed to be about defense.”
Reid objected to the unanimous consent motion, having already announced plans to tack on the DREAM Act which would offer amnesty to illegal aliens — whose parents brought them here illegally — if they agree to go to school or serve in the military.
The Senate version of the DREAM Act bill had placed an age limit at 35 years for these “children” to qualify for benefits, placing the beneficiary recipients on a path to citizenship. This would allow those illegal aliens through chain migration to give legal status to their entire families including their parents who broke U.S. immigration laws.
That’s called amnesty.
The DREAM Act also provides taxpayer subsidized in-state college tuition rates for these illegal alien benefit recipients.
One senior GOP Senate aide told HUMAN EVENTS that Democrats had not made public the text of the proposed amnesty amendment prior to yesterday’s vote.
Reid also planned to add a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the bill, a policy first put into place by the Clinton administration to prevent homosexuals from openly proclaiming their sexual preference while serving in the military.
The Defense bill also included another unpopular measure, the federal funding of abortions on military installations.
Reid is an incumbent in deep trouble polling at 45 percent support. That’s a death knell for the incumbent — the known quantity in the race. Well more than half of Nevada voters reject Reid’s performance in office.
Reid admitted from the Senate floor last week that the Defense authorization bill would not be completed and come to a vote before the November 2 elections. His machinations to force a vote on a bill loaded up with unpopular legislation were designed to appeal to his far-left base voters in his own race where turnout will be key.