UPDATE: Sen. Conrad voted for cloture on the DREAM Act, but was mistakenly labeled as a no vote in the post we quoted. We regret the mistake.
Here’s a slideshow of DREAM Act champions in the Senate and DREAM youth from across the country reacting strongly to today’s Senate vote — in which the DREAM Act obtained majority support (55-41) but not the 60 votes needed to beat a Republican filibuster:
While there were many tears shed today, there were also words and prayers of hope and encouragement — as well as a strong sense that those who blocked DREAM must be held accountable for their votes.
As Andrea Nill reports at the Wonk Room, former comprehensive immigration reform champion Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gave a particularly foul statement during today’s debate:
Immediately before the vote failed, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took the Senate floor to tell the young DREAMers who have come to his office that they were “wasting their time” because the border hasn’t been secured:
To the DREAM Act, I have been involved in comprehensive immigration reform for many years. Senator Durbin and I have talked about how to make the DREAM Act part of comprehensive immigration reform. To those who have come to my office — you’re always welcome to come, but you’re wasting your time.
We’re not going to pass the DREAM Act or any other legalization program until we secure our borders. It will never be done as a stand-alone. It has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform.
As Andrea reminds us:
What Graham didn’t mention is that though he has supported immigration reform in the past, he and his party are largely responsible for blocking it in 2010. First he held it hostage to health care reform, pitted it against climate change legislation, and then turned his back on it altogether. This summer, he declared his support for changing the 14th amendment to deny the U.S.-born children of immigrants citizenship.
Besides Graham, the Republican senators voting against the DREAM Act today included Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and George Lemieux (R-FL) — all of whom come from Latino-heavy states and most of whom supported either the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform in the past.
So-called “moderate” Republicans, including Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and George Voinovich (R-OH) also voted against the bill. They were joined by a handful of Democrats: Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Pryor (D-AK), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
Only three Republicans voted in favor of the bill. After the vote, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos openly wondered how Republicans will be able to ask Latinos to vote for them after killing the DREAM Act.
Those three principled Senators are DREAM champion Richard Lugar (R-IN), Bob Bennett (R-UT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was apparently too busy attending a Christmas party to show up for the historic vote. Seriously:
When the Senate took two of its most highly anticipated votes of the lame-duck session on Saturday, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was nowhere to be found. [...]
“While he regrets missing the votes, it was a family obligation that he just could not break,” spokesperson Sara Payne Scarbro said. “However, he has been clear on where he stands on the issues.”
Manchin’s absence stood in contrast to the presence of another Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who despite a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer, made it in for Saturday’s votes. (Wyden is slated to undergo surgery on Monday.)
Montana Senator Jon Tester is already facing severe backlash from top progressive bloggers who helped elect him. They are outraged at his vote, but also for a recent statement in which he smeared the concept of an earned pathway to citizenship for those who qualify as “Amnesty.”