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Although a majority of U.S. Senators voted in favor of the DREAM Act last Saturday, the 55-41 vote failed to meet the 60 vote threshold and therefore will not advance. This is particularly disappointing given the fact that the legislation had already passed the House and was just five votes shy of reaching the President’s desk.
The political consequences for those who voted against the DREAM Act will be felt in 2012 and beyond.
On Saturday millions of Latino voters watched the DREAM vote, as both major Spanish-language networks, in an unprecedented move, interrupted regular programming to carry the vote live. Images such as angry Republican floor statements dismissing the efforts of the DREAMers and moral clarity of the DREAM Act, the vote count showing most Republicans and some Democrats voting no, and, following the vote, the talented young Latinos crying and expressing resolve to fight on will stay with a community that is coming of age politically.
Republican senators voted against the DREAM Act 36 to 3 (with 3 Republican senators not voting). Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Bob Bennett (R-UT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) deserve special commendation for standing up to the nativist voices within their Party and voting for this sensible legislation.
Democratic senators voted for the legislation 52 to 5 (with 1 Democratic senator not voting). Senators who deserve special condemnation are those who voted for DREAM in 2007 but switched to no votes in 2010: Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Special thanks go to those who were no votes in 2007 and became yes votes in 2010: Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Arlen Specter (D-PA).
In the aftermath of the vote, political analysts are already predicting it will have a major impact on 2012 politics: