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Politico reports that negotiations over inserting amendments may be breaking down, putting the Gang further away from its goal of 70 votes:
Potential swing GOP votes began to peel away from the reform effort Wednesday. A source familiar with the discussions told POLITICO that the negotiators are no longer trying to woo Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) because they see his demands on agricultural workers as an insurmountable hurdle. Two other Republicans, who had backed a so-called border surge plan, then turned around to reject a procedural move to advance the bill...
Barring a breakthrough agreement on amendments, the Senate is set to vote on two procedural votes on Thursday. Final passage would come Friday, although senators — ready to speed back to their home states for the July 4 recess — could agree to move up the vote.
Andrew Stiles at NRO has many more details about the battle over amendments: "Further votes on amendments to the Gang of Eight immigration bill may be unlikely, as lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement on which amendments, and how many, to allow a vote on."
On Wednesday, the only vote we got was a 67-31 cloture vote to advance the main bill.
Rubio offers a defense of his immigration bill. He reiterates the concerns of those who criticize the Obama administration's record. He specifically denies that future Congresses cannot change the funding of the bill...Meanwhile, Sarah Palin calls for primaries for Ayotte and Rubio....Speaking of elections, Sean Trende argues that the GOP does not need to pass immigration "reform" in order to remain viable....
National Journal poll: "Overall, 77 percent of respondents opposed making government benefits available to legalized (but noncitizen) immigrants."
In an interesting post, Bill Kristol comes out hard against "comprehensive immigration reform":
So if Republicans want to win House and Senate seats in 2014, John Boehner should kill the Senate bill—first refusing to take it up in the House, and also by making clear the House will refuse to go to conference with it. The House can still pass specific bills to address particular immigration issues this session (which presumably the Senate won't take up—but let Harry Reid explain his refusal to do so). But the key is for Boehner to kill "comprehensive" immigration "reform" in this session of Congress.
IN THE HOUSE
Boehner might have a tightrope walk ahead of him on immigration reform, especially with rising anger about the Senate bill.
Ryan and Boehner now seem to be suggesting that Gang of 8 bill will not be voted on in the House---but hope for the House's own legislation (which could be melded with Gang of 8 bill in conference). Ryan seems to be taking on a leading role in the House immigration debate and seems to be supporting a plan that has some component of legalization, guest-worker programs, and further enforcement. See his interview here with Hannity for further details about what Ryan is thinking about (Hannity seems skeptical).
On Thursday, a House committee will mark up a tech-related immigration measure.
(Link to this issue here.)