This has been an extraordinary week. The people have spoken twice - both against the leadership. In the United States Senate, the leadership of both parties by and large was on one side. The people, as reflected by the Senators who cast votes on that final cloture roll call, were with the people. In the House of Representatives all the leaders of the Majority Party voted against the wishes of the people. ALL of the leaders of the Minority Party were with the people. The people prevailed. Over 100 Members of the Majority Party joined every member of the Minority Party to prevail in lopsided fashion. In my more than four decades in our Nation's Capital I never remember a day such as we had last week.
The establishment clearly wanted this comprehensive immigration bill. In the final vote, the Senatorial Leadership of both parties, except Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted yes. Eighteen Senators who had voted to proceed with the bill earlier in the week switched their votes from yes to no. What an embarrassment to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (R-NV); Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy (D-CA), a Committee Chairman; Richard E. (Dick) Durban (D-IL), the Majority Whip; Trent Lott (R-MS), the Minority Whip; Mel Martinez (R-FL), the National Party Chairman; Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the Minority Policy Chairman; and so on. McConnell had hinted that he might not be able to support the bill, even though his President was militantly for the measure. He had voted to proceed with the bill. That lopsided vote was 64 - 35, Tim Johnson (D-SD) not voting due to illness. The final cloture vote was 46 - 53, 60 votes required. Proponents could not get a majority.