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Amnesty Bill Cloture Vote Passes, Now the Fireworks Really Begin

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Cloture vote coming up on the immigration bill. This is the bill where they need to get 60 votes to effectively shut off debate on the process, and it's not always guaranteed, but if they get the 60 votes, it is an indication that the bill is going to pass. A lot of people do not understand the processes of the Senate under normal circumstances. This bill has not gone through the Senate's normal procedures at all. There have been no debates, no committee hearings, no experts to come in and offer their expert opinions on various aspects of the bill because it was negotiated in secret and then they tried to ram it down everybody's throat, which they're really still trying to do.

Now, the bill failed, didn't get 60 votes. In fact, it didn't get anywhere near 50 votes last time it was tried and for all intents and purposes it was dead. But I warned you, I told you that they would revive it, and they have. They're offering all kinds of crazy amendments now. They're offering promises to Republican senators. Okay, look, go ahead and vote for this and we'll let you add an amendment to this thing. One of the things that has been added here is a proposal that would force illegals to return to their home countries to apply for legal status. This is the Z visa. They would have to go back, and this amendment, by the way, has been moved by Senator Lindsey Grahamnesty. It will tell the illegals that you have to go back, you have to touch back, get your Z visa instead of presto getting your Z visa after 24 hours of enduring a horrendous background check, exhaustively and thoroughly performed by your competent United States government.

So this Washington Post story on this actually went out and polled the illegals who are hiding in the shadows. (Laughing.) They went out and they polled them, and they said, 37% won't go for it. Am I reading this right? Is that what happened? Let's see. What is it? "Last week, in the first-ever poll of illegal immigrants, 83 percent of the 1,600 undocumented Latinos surveyed told the polling firm Bendixen & Associates that they would pay the thousands of dollars in fines and fees, produce the work documents and submit to the background check needed for a Z Visa. But if they also had to return to their home countries, participation rates would drop to 63 percent, according to the poll commissioned by New America Media, a consortium of ethnic news media." So this is the kind of thing and, by the way, not only Lindsey Grahamnesty, but Jon Kyl and Mel Martinez of Florida who's out there posing with Senator Kennedy all over the place.

I don't understand these Republicans. For example, there are seven Republicans who could go either way, and these seven Republican senators could stop this thing in its tracks. (Final vote tally of GOP senators who voted for cloture.) I'll give you the names: Kit Bond of Missouri; Richard Burr, North Carolina; John Ensign of Nevada -- more about him in just a second -- Judd Gregg, New Hampshire; and Orrin Hatch of Utah. And Jim Webb, you have to throw Webb in there because Webb campaigned against amnesty, running against George Allen, and he voted against cloture the last time. So he needs to be consistent here. Not that he will be. He could turn around and start playing a Washington game and want to become the insider here, but it would be totally contradictory. That, of course, would not be a surprise. What's interesting, John Ensign was a member of the Republican freshman class in the House in 1994. He's now a Senator from Nevada. I met him a couple times. He's an extremely great guy. I've enjoyed his company when I've been with him. But John Ensign is running the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. John Ensign's job is to get Republicans elected and reelected to the United States Senate in the '08 elections, and that means he's in charge of fundraising essentially. He's out there in charge of fundraising for Senate Republican candidates. So he's got to be, I would think, extremely sensitive and aware of what the base and those people who will contribute to Republican senators will do. So this is going to be interesting to see how he votes on this.

So you've got Bond, you've got Burr, and I know that Burr's office -- well, I'm sure that all of these people's offices have been melting down in all forms of media, be it fax, be it e-mail, be it telephone. The way this cloture stuff works, just to go through the procedure for you. If cloture passes, if they get 60 votes -- see, the 60 votes, Senate rule -- says filibuster. They don't have to actually go through the filibuster, they say, "We're filibustering this," and to stop the debate, to stop the filibuster, they need 60 votes. It's just a Senate rule. It hasn't always been this way in the Senate. Happened some time ago, but it hasn't always been this way. You used to have to really do a filibuster if you were gonna do a filibuster. Now you don't. You just signal that you're filibustering this, and everything comes to a screeching halt. So, if they get their 60 votes today, after that no more than 30 hours of debate may occur. No senator can speak for more than an hour, no amendments can be moved unless they were filed on the day in between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote. All amendments must be relevant to the debate.

This stuff has already been altered because, like today, on the floor of the Senate, Jeff Sessions only got four to five minutes, and he's one of the opponents. So, as I say, if they get their 60 votes on this it is conventional wisdom that the bill will end up passing. But if the Senate doesn't get the votes today, it's dead. It's dead, muerto. Well, to try to bring this back a third time, I mean they're going to have to make some significant changes in it to bring it back a third time. As I mentioned yesterday, the first step is we're going to get the border sealed. The first step is not actually do it, just say that that's the first thing we're going to do, as I went through yesterday. Something interesting happened in the House. The GOP House caucus was meeting this morning around ten o'clock, and I got some whispers here that the Republican House caucus is going to vote today on whether to release a one-sentence statement expressing opposition to the Senate immigration bill in its current form.

Now, this is important, because if this happens, if a sufficient number of House Republicans come out with an official statement saying they oppose the bill, Nancy Pelosi won't bring it to the floor. You've heard Dingy Harry say, "This is the president's bill. This is a Republican bill." Pelosi is not going to have this bill pass the house without a significant number of Republicans taking the heat, because that's what they want to happen here. So if the House Republicans do this, the message to their Republican Senate brethren would be, "Don't bother walking the plank, you guys, don't vote for a bill that's going to anger your constituents, especially when it doesn't have a chance over here in the House." So you could have House Republicans trying to do two things. A, stop the bill, and, B, save their Senate Republican counterparts, though I don't know how many of them actually care about doing that. They're running a little late on the vote, which is normal. It was scheduled to start, some of the procedural votes, at 11:50, about 25 minutes ago.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The cloture vote has started and we'll keep a running tally of how it goes as it unfolds. There's a story here out of Albuquerque that just is laughable. "Vehicle Barrier Built on Wrong Side of Border to be Removed," is the headline. "Part of a vehicle barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was erected in the wrong country and soon will be removed and rebuilt on American soil, federal officials say." I mean, this is the keystone cops. Yesterday we learned that there's a bunch of tunnels from Tijuana over to California right under border control checkpoints, and they didn't know the tunnels were there until recently."U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel told The Associated Press, 'We want to move quickly to ensure that we place the vehicle barrier where it should be, which is north of the border.' The barrier, 17 miles west of Columbus, N.M. was built in 2000 by Joint Task Force North out of Fort Bliss, Texas. It encroaches into Mexico territory between one and six feet south of the border along a 1.5-mile stretch." Well, no wonder they can't protect the border, they don't even know where the border is! Build a damn barrier on the wrong side of the border? Today on Joe Scarborough's show, Joe Scarborough is doing the early morning show on PMSNBC. His guest was Pat Buchanan. We have two sound bites. Here's the first.

SCARBOROUGH: In this issue you have a guy like Rush Limbaugh who has an extraordinary influence with the grassroots coming on saying, "You know what, we're not going to support this Mr. President. You're losing us." I think -- and again a lot of people like to go, you know, say all this garbage about Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh is one of the most powerful forces still in American politics. And when Rush Limbaugh tells his 20 million listeners a week, "Hey, this is a bad deal. Mr. President, I stayed with you all along, but you start calling me a bigot because I oppose this bill, you're losing me." That has a huge impact. I think that makes a difference.

RUSH: And they continued the conversation, Buchanan tried to get in there, you just didn't hear him. He makes it into the conversation with this bite.

BUCHANAN: It is indeed, Joe, and look, Limbaugh is enormously important. He's a pacesetter. He's one of the great, great forces of conservatism in the last decade, and this is why Trent Lott, what does he say, "We gotta do something about talk radio."

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, isn't that amazing. Trent -- Trent --

BUCHANAN: These are the guys going to the wall for Bush on the Iraq issue. But you're right, they are all now, because they are in touch with their listeners, and many of them have been attuned to this issue --

RUSH: And have come to the issue. So we're being talked about all over the place, which is par for the course. New York Times story, "Labor Coalitions Divided on Immigration Overhaul." By the way, Dingy Harry begging for votes, begging for Republican votes today before the cloture vote started, literally begging. Because the Democrats, this is their bill. They've got the president, but this is a Ted Kennedy bill. Ted Kennedy is the godfather of every immigration proposal this country has put forth in his 43 years in the Senate, going back to the sixties. Bush wants this, and Dingy Harry is out there trying to say this is the president's bill, this is a Republican bill. So he's out there begging these seven Republican senators whose names I gave you earlier to come on and vote for this because the Democrats don't want this bill passed -- well, they can't get 60 votes. In fact, they're even lamenting the fact that Tim Johnson, who had the cerebral hemorrhage can't vote on this. That's how close it's going to be. It will be fascinating to watch. But, again, folks, if this happens, if they get cloture -- and, by the way, just to show you, I went ahead, I lit the one o'clock victory cigar before the vote started.

RUSH: I am confident, but I'm not worried if we lose this, because if we lose this, it's going to go to the House and the same thing is going to happen. This will just be one battle in the war that may be lost but the war will continue. You have to have that attitude about it, and then you take your revenge or whatever you want to call it out on people you think did not do the right thing at the ballot box the next election. But this New York Times story, "Labor Coalitions Divided on Immigration Overhaul." Who are labor coalitions? Will somebody tell me what political party labor coalitions are a member of? They are members of the Democrat Party. So you'd never see a headline in the New York Times, "Democrats divided," but that's what this is. "Now that President Bush has rallied Republicans to try again to reshape the immigration laws, supporters of the effort have a new worry. When the bill returns to the Senate floor, probably next week, opposition from labor unions could doom the bill's prospects by putting pressure on many Democrats to vote against it. ... 'The labor opposition on this bill is extremely important,' said Tamar Jacoby, an immigration expert at the conservative Manhattan Institute. 'For this bill to pass, we probably need 80 percent of the Democrats, if not more, to support it, and if unions are what pull them off the bill or make their support soft, that is a serious threat to the bill.'"

Now, you might be confused, "What do you mean the vote next week?" This is just a cloture vote. If they get the cloture vote, if they get 60 votes, then the actual bill will be voted on next week. That's what this story is saying. Hey, there might be a big problem next week when the bill, the actual bill comes up because the Democrats are divided here; the labor unions specifically are divided. "Supporters of the bill say that the A.F.L.-C.I.O., in opposing the legislation, is focused on protecting the gains that its mostly middle-class members have made in pay and benefits over the decades. ... Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a liberal group that supports the bill, says, 'The A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s hostility surprises me.'" So the hotel unions, the service worker and farm concerns, tossing the AFL-CIO under the bus here. So there's division on the Democrat side. The story reports the division, but it doesn't report that this is division on the Democrat side. It just says the Democrats may have some problems getting the votes as they are needed, but if this was standard reporting, the headline would say, "Republicans divided," as the headlines have so stated.
Where we gonna go first here? You want to start in St. Mary's, Ohio, we'll do that. Laura, you're up first on the EIB Network today. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?

RUSH: Fine, thank you.

CALLER: Good. Thanks for all you do.

RUSH: Well, you're more than welcome. I appreciate you saying that.

CALLER: Well, a few folks in my community are calling this immigration bill, they're renaming it to the 9/11 bill, because they believe that if it passes, it's going to be the second attack on America. And a lot of folks in my community were integral in getting the president elected. We knew we disagreed with him on this when we worked so hard to get him elected. We just wish that he had been as tenacious with Social Security reform or vouchers or making the tax cuts permanent. I tell you, I've been involved with grassroots for many years. I've never seen such a visceral reaction to any other issue. It transcends gender, generations, and on the grassroots level, Rush, it transcends party affiliation.

RUSH: Yeah, we've made that point here. The last thing that came up that engendered this kind of public outcry was the Dubai Ports deal. But interestingly on that, the Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate both were in a race to see who could be the first to kill that bill because of our reaction to it. Well, I was actually in favor of it, but the majority of the American people were opposed it, and they were totally responsive there. They were having mad dashes to the microphones to claim credit, both parties had people doing it, to shut down that proposal. Now they're not doing that with this one. All this outcry and all this grassroots opposition that you described is having its effect. I'm not saying it's not been helpful, because it has. But there are still a group of people in the United States Senate who don't care, and they're going to ram it, if they can, down our throats come hell or high water.

CALLER: Well, Rush, I'll tell you, with 80% of the American people against this bill t really makes no sense that they do not realize that, you know, if they don't represent the American people, next year is going to make last year look like a walk in the park.

RUSH: You're talking about the Republicans?

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: Yeah. Well, that's what's confusing about this. You would think that they would know it, and you would think that they would at least be trying to massage this, you know, rather than insulting us. "Well, you don't know what's in it. You haven't read it." Well, tell us! If you know what's in it, tell us. I still like my idea, No Senator Left Behind Test, find out if they know what the hell is in this.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Well, we're just getting the tally here on the cloture vote. Well, they got their 60 votes. They get 64 votes, 35 no's. So this bill has achieved cloture, which means debate has been stopped; the filibuster is over. The Senate is in recess 'til 2:15 this afternoon. So the cloture vote passed. (laughing) The fireworks now begin, because this is not the final vote. The bill was not voted on today, folks. Now, as I say, it's likely to pass since it got 64 votes today, but any of these people could change their mind and try to have it both ways. Some of these Republicans could change their mind next week when the actual bill is debated. There's not much debate allowed. It's very restrictive on how many amendments can be offered. They're going to be celebrating this vote today, but the real vote on the real bill is probably going to be next week. So I guess I lit my cigar prematurely today. I was just trying to create good karma. They're going to hail this as a huge victory. They're going to say the amendments that were allowed is what turned the tide, and senators are gonna say, "Well, those amendments, they were there because we heard the American people. The American people didn't like this automatic switch from illegal to legal in 24 hours. Now these people have to go home."

We all know that's not going to happen. When this thing finally happens, if it does, we know they're not going to go home. Thirty-seven percent say they won't anyway. What are we going to do? The enforcement measures are simply not here, and, hell, we're building the vehicle barrier on the wrong side of the border anyway! We don't even know where the border is half the time. So it's going to be fascinating. Oh, and here's something else. I want to warn you people about this. The Drive-By Media will now revel in the fact that talk radio ultimately is powerless. "Talk radio failed to defeat this bill! Talk radio, despite everybody's fears, is really irrelevant, because the bill passed nevertheless," and when they say that, folks (as they will), I want you to understand that they're also saying it about you, because talk radio's audience is simply the American voter; American citizens who are interested, passionate, and care. You care about the outcome of events and the future of your country. I'm sure we have some people listening that don't vote, but the vast majority of the people involved in this do. That's why this scares Washington, because you're voters. So you will be lumped in with others. You won't be called irrelevant, just small. "You're just loud and you're very vocal but you're really not that big, and this vote proves it. This vote establishes it." Now, I mention all of this just so that you can be prepared for it. Don't take it personally. You can let it make you mad, let it fire you up, but understand it's just rhetoric, and it is not the case. We've seen the polls, 76 to 80 of the American people on all sides of whatever lines you want to draw, oppose amnesty, which this bill is.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Frank in Cincinnati, let me squeeze you in here before we have to go to the break real quick.

CALLER: Hi.

RUSH: Welcome to the program.

CALLER: Well, thank you very much. Rush, I'm just curious. Is somebody making a list of all the people that are voting here --

RUSH: Oh, yeah.

CALLER: So that we can --

RUSH: Oh, yeah.

CALLER: -- know who not to vote for next time.

RUSH: Wait a minute, now. Yes we'll have the roll call and we'll put it on the website so you can know who to vote against it, if that's what you want to do, but the real vote is coming later. This was just a move the bill forward. The real vote will be next week, and I'm telling you, folks, it's not a lock, just because of this vote today. It is not a lock. The battle goes on. But, yes, we'll publish the names of those 64 who voted for cloture.

END TRANSCRIPT

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