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Why Are Former GOP Supporters Like Sen. Hutchison Still Siding With Sessions on DREAM?

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 12/06/2010 at 11:22am

Kay Bailey HutchisonEven as the House readies for a DREAM vote this week, Mike Lillis’ latest piece on DREAM in The Hill paints a stark picture of the challenges the DREAM Act faces to garner conservative backers in the Senate.

Lillis describes Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s recent, misleading statements about the bill:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is also promising to vote against the DREAM Act next week. Though she was one of seven current Senate Republicans to vote in favor of a similar measure when it came up in 2007, the latest version “is very different from and broader than previous efforts,” her office said Friday in an e-mail.

“The current legislation would include green cards and citizenship, which under present law would follow with amnesty for those who came here illegally as adults,” the e-mail read. “[Hutchison] has and continues to support allowing for student and temporary, renewable visas for qualified students and graduates who have grown up and been educated in the United States. But she will not support legislation now being put forward as the DREAM Act because it goes far beyond dealing with these affected young people.”

Andrea Nill has already debunked this argument over at Think Progress in Will Republicans Accept A Modified DREAM Act?”

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a modified version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to address several of the concerns expressed by Republicans — namely the GOP talking points criticisms voiced in a memo put out by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) last week. Media Matter’s Political Correction already debunked several of Sessions’ claims before a new bill was even introduced. The latest version of the DREAM Act further blows each of his grievances out of the water:

CLAIM: “The DREAM Act Is NOT Limited to Children, And It Will Be Funded On the Backs Of Hard Working, Law-Abiding Americans”:

REVISION: The latest version of the DREAM Act lowers the age cap for eligibility from 35 to 29 on the date of enactment. It’s worth noting that an earlier version of the DREAM Act that was authored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), did not include any age cap and was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee on a 16-3 vote.

The irony of course is that is being widely reported that Democrats modified the bill (which 11 sitting GOP Senators like Hutchison had supported in the past) to give conservatives even more reasons to vote for it (in the present). Even more confounding is that the Congressional Budget Office just released its non-partisan analysis, and the DREAM Act would slash the deficit by $1.4 billion over the next ten years.

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