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Obama vs. the GOP on DREAM Act

Obama chided Republicans Saturday for filibustering the defense authorization bill that could have included the DREAM Act and other reform-minded measures like a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Obama said he hoped Republicans would “come to their senses” on the DREAM Act after the November elections.

Which Republicans may come around? In 2007, 12 Republicans voted for the DREAM Act’s passage. Only seven are still in the Senate, and they all voted to filibuster the defense authorization bill last week. While some objected to the bill being inserted into the defense bill, others seem more likely to now oppose the DREAM Act in general — meaning passage as a standalone is far from a sure thing.

Utah Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch are in the “secure the borders first” camp, arguing immigration reform must be preceded by stricter enforcement efforts. “The American people want the government to secure our borders, create jobs and reduce the deficit.” Hatch said to explain his “no” vote on the DREAM Act.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) may also be tough to sway. He is running for Kansas governor and has said he opposes “amnesty” for illegal immigrants even though he supported paths to legal status such as the DREAM Act in the past.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Texas) focused her criticism of the defense authorization bill on the inclusion of non-defense items in the bill. (The DREAM Act would have an impact on the military and would likely ease recruitment.)

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe could be more likely to vote for the DREAM Act as a standalone bill. Collins said she joined the filibuster because Majority Leader Harry Reid unfairly limited Republican amendments to the defense authorization bill, not because she opposed the substance of his planned amendments. Snowe also stayed quiet on the DREAM Act when discussing her decision to filibuster.

Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.) seems like a likely “yes” vote for the DREAM Act if it is pushed as a standalone bill. Lugar is a co-sponsor of the bill in its current iteration and has indicated he would support the bill’s passage this year.

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