The Senate approved the bill by a 68-to-32 vote Thursday. But House leaders, including those supportive of the immigration reform effort, have said the Senate legislation won't get a hearing in their chamber.
Tense negotiations, months of deliberation, hundreds of amendments, and hours of speeches on the Senate floor culminated in passage of a bipartisan immigration reform bill on Thursday.
With Vice President Joe Biden presiding over the chamber, 68 senators – 54 Democrats joined by 14 Republicans – rose from their chairs to vote for the most sweeping immigration reform overhaul to pass the chamber since 2006.
“This,” says Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina, a member of the “Gang of Eight” that crafted this year’s bill, “is as good as it gets in the Senate.”
But one question hung over the heady proceedings: Would it all be in vain?
Without a single House Republican leader signaling an interest in taking up the Senate’s legislation, immigration reform’s road from broadly popular idea to legislation on President Obama’s desk is still as murky as ever.
“To our friends in the House, we ask for your consideration,” said Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, plaintively, at a news conference after the vote. “We stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you.”
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