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Congress: Immigration bill clears first hurdle, but more to come

Roll Call: The Senate on Tuesday voted to open debate on a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill on overwhelmingly bipartisan lines, staving off a filibuster 82 to 15. … The Senate later voted 84-15 on the motion to proceed to the bill itself. … It was the first test of what is sure to be many for the “gang of eight” framework that passed out of committee last month. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he expects several weeks of deliberation before final votes and the July Fourth recess. But the road to final passage is not clear, even if the bill’s backers are confident about their chances.”

Advocates of immigration reform want a final vote to be as high as possible, 70 or more, in the hopes that an overwhelming vote will pressure House Speaker John Boehner into bringing up the bill in the House even if it doesn’t have majority support of his conference – something called the Hastert Rule. But conservatives are pressuring Boehner to stick with the Hastert Rule, Roll Call reports.

National Journal: “For the Senate to pass a comprehensive immigration-reform billl, Republicans are going to have to start trusting Democrats or Democrats are going to have to start trusting Republicans. Good luck with that. Senate Republicans don't believe President Obama will enforce the bill's border-security provisions--and they don't want to let millions of illegal immigrants begin working their way toward citizenship until they see the president is serious about locking down the borders. That's why they want those immigrants' eligibility for citizenship to be contingent, or ‘triggered,’ on the U.S. Border Patrol meeting benchmarks.” 

Chris Frates: “Chuck Schumer’s predicting the Senate will overwhelmingly pass comprehensive immigration reform before July 4th. Marco Rubio says the bill doesn’t even have the 60 votes it needs to pass. And as of today, Rubio’s right.”

Politico: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is trying again on immigration and gay rights. The Vermont Democrat filed an amendment to the Gang of Eight immigration bill on Tuesday that would allow gay U.S. citizens to petition their foreign spouses to become permanent residents. He had withdrawn the measure after an emotional debate during the committee markup, after several Democrats said they would vote against his amendment in order to preserve the overall bill.” 

Ted Cruz (R) says he is, in fact, “Obamaphobic.”

Nathan Gonzales previews Thursday’s congressional baseball game and notes that Democrats add another arm in addition to Cedric Richmond, the star of the team who has dominated Republicans of late: “As a high-school pitcher, Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy was throwing as hard as 90 miles per hour (along with a slider) and on his way to pitch at the University of Miami on a scholarship, until he broke his shoulder playing football in the final game of the season. Murphy, now 30, tried to come back from injury but was never the same, according to the congressman. But facing top-tier talent is very different than a lineup of aging politicians. If Murphy, wearing an Indian River State College uniform, is able to throw in the 70s and have a breaking ball, he could pose a ridiculous one-two punch with Richmond. When he’s not on the mound, Murphy will likely play center field and hit in the middle of the lineup.”