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What to expect when the Immigration Bill hits the senate floor.

Process:

  1. Starting the Week of June 10, 2013 the The Senate will debate the motion to proceed for two calendar days and will conclude with a vote on June 11, 2013 at 2:15pm and a final vote at 4:00pm. If they get 60 votes, which should not be a problem as Minority Leader McConnell (KY) said he will vote yes, then the Senate will begin debate of the bill.
  1. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release an estimate of how much the bill will cost or reduce the deficit over over the next ten years.
  1. Debate will begin with opening statements from both parties and then time will be divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans
  • Sen. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, will work with Sen. Reid and the four Democratic members of the “Gang of Eight” to lead the Democratic efforts for the bill.
  • For Republicans, the time will be divided between proponents (the four Republican members of the “Gang of Eight” and others) and opponents (Senators Sessions (AL), Grassley (IA), and others).

Amendments (offered over the next three weeks):

  1. There will likely be hundreds of amendments filed. However, just because an amendment is filed does not mean it will be voted on. In the Judiciary committee only approximately one third were voted on.
  2. The amendments will be debated. Many non-controversial amendments will be accepted on a bipartisan basis. The most controversial amendment will likely not be heard until the third week of debate (June 24th).
  3. Amendments may be offered in any order to any part of the bill, the order largely depends on the convenience of the Senators proposing the amendments.
  4. An amendment can be amended. It is called a second degree amendment. That can happen to any amendment being voted on. After voting on any second degree amendments, the Senate votes on the first degree amendment as it may have been amended. Third degree amendments amendments to second degree amendments are not in order.

Final Votes on Bill as Amended (Most Likely Week of June 24th):

  1. Filibuster: Because Senate rules establish no generally applicable limits on the length of debate, nor any motions by which a majority could vote to bring a debate to an end, or even limit it, the only formal procedure that Senate rules provide for breaking filibusters (endless amendments being offered, one senator speaking at length, etc…) is to invoke cloture.
  2. When Senator Reid has decided that the time for offering amendments has expired, he will invoke cloture to end debate on the bill. If any Senator objects to cloture it will then require 60 yes votes to end debate and move to a final vote. If cloture is invoked successfully (60 yes votes) there will still be an additional 30 hours (or two calendar days) of debate when amendments can continue to be offered.
  3. If cloture is invoked, and after the 30 hours have elapsed, the Senate will then move to a final vote on the bill as amended. This vote only requires a simple majority of the Senate for passage.

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