More Details on Reid and the DREAM Act
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised last week that he would try to pass the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow some undocumented young people to gain legal status, during the lame duck session. The news came out Friday, but the TV interview where he made the promise didn’t air until yesterday.
Reid said he expected full support from Democrats, but needed a few Republicans to vote for the bill. “I have the right to bring that up any time I want, that’s why I brought it up the first time,” he said. “I am a believer in our needing to do something. … We all support the DREAM Act. I just need a handful of Republicans to help me.”
He didn’t seem to expect support from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who once supported the bill but has since shifted far to the right on immigration issues. Reid blamed him, at least in part, for stalling the immigration reform effort this session. “As a result of his unwillingness to help, we have not had a single Republican offer to help us with comprehensive immigration reform,” Reid said. “The system is broken and all they want to do is demagogue the issue.”
Reid didn’t name names when it came to which Republicans he hoped would vote for the DREAM Act during the lame duck session. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) is an almost certain “yes” vote, but other Republicans’ positions remain unclear. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was an original sponsor, but has since wavered in his support and voted in September for a filibuster of the defense authorization bill that would have served as a vehicle for the act. Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins also voted to filibuster, but might support the DREAM Act as a standalone bill.
In September, bill sponsor Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he hoped senators who lost their elections would vote for the bill. “Some members of the Senate who are not going to return may vote in our favor,” Durbin said. “I hope that’s the case.”