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Senate Democrats Give DREAM Act New Life

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After the historic victory yesterday in the House of Representatives, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a bold move today to shelve a vote on the Senate’s original version of the DREAM Act, scheduled to be voted on today. In doing so, he paved the way for the Senate to take up the House-passed version of the bill in the next few weeks.

Essentially, Senate leadership just breathed new life into the DREAM Act.

Faced with lock-step Republican opposition to deal with anything before tax cuts, today’s scheduled cloture vote on the motion to proceed was widely predicted to fail, which would have doomed the DREAM Act this year. 

Here’s a reaction from the national United We Dream Network, who have been lobbying all week in Washington:

The DREAM Act must now gather critical support from a number of Senators still sitting on the fence, both Democrats and Republicans. Having more time between votes gives us time to shift our focus from the House to the Senate and make sure our voices are heard.

Some republicans have blurred the debate by painting a negative portrayal of undocumented students. Senator Sessions took to the Senate to claim that DREAM-eligible people would buy fake diplomas online. Our lives are real and our diplomas are real. We need Senators to rise above the fakeness and get real, the time for DREAM is now. We urge everybody who has ever supported the DREAM Act to take time to make some phone calls and urge senators to vote YES on DREAM. As Representative John Lewis shared last night, “The time is always right to do what is right”.

The DREAM Act has traditionally been a bipartisan measure that has attracted real Republican backing.  In 2007, eleven Republican Senators voted for the DREAM Act, and seven of them are still in office: Lugar, Bennett, Brownback, Hutchison, Snowe, Collins, and Hatch.  In 2003, Republican Senators Kyl, Grassley, and Cornyn voted for the measure in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Last night, eight Republican representatives voted for the bill.  What’s needed in the Senate is for Republicans to shift from posturing on process to negotiating a bill that can pass next week.  

We’ll also be keeping up the pressure on a handful of shaky Democrats who still refuse to invest in America’s future.