6 Senate Republicans Who Could Vote for Immigration Reform
Some of the GOP senators who could propel immigration reform forward.
June 3, 2013— -- intro: Immigration reform is heading to the Senate floor a week from today.
Now where are those votes?
An immigration bill will need 60 senators to clear any attempt by Republicans to filibuster the legislation.
When you add up the Democrats and Independents, that gives you 54 likely yes votes. There's one seat currently open after the the death of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat.
Add the four Republicans who are already backing the legislation, and you have 58.
That means the bill only needs a handful of GOP votes to clear a filibuster.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), part of the group that crafted the legislation, wants even more. He thinks the bill should pass with as many as 70 votes, to show that it has strong Republican support as it heads to the House.
Here are a few of the Republicans who might vote for immigration reform, based on background from groups in favor of the bill:
This post was updated on June 4, 2013, 10:55 a.m..
quicklist: 1title: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)text: Back in 2010, another immigration bill failed to pass the Senate. The DREAM Act would have created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people. The reason it died: only three Republicans voted for it. Murkowski was one of them. That means there's a chance she'll back this bill, as well.
Last week, she told a crowd of 200 Anchorage residents at a Catholic church that she supports immigration reform with "a path" for undocumented immigrant workers.
quicklist: 2title: Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)text: If politics is about adapting to survive, Dean Heller could be a new brand of Republican. As Politico pointed out in March, he's transformed himself to match the changing demographics of his state. In Nevada, 46 percent of the population is non-white and there's a growing number of Latino residents.
Heller sounded very positive about immigration reform in an op-ed he wrote for the Las Vegas Review-Journal on May 26:
"By establishing a path forward towards earned legal status, millions of people currently living in the shadows can understand what they and their family members need to do live here legally, plan for the future, and join in the fabric of American society," he wrote.
quicklist: 3title: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)text: Based on his previous voting record, you wouldn't peg Chambliss as an immigration reform supporter. But a couple of factors have people thinking he'll vote for the legislation.
He'll want to bring home an immigration deal that helps the agricultural interests in his state, and the American Farm Bureau, the country's biggest grower association, is supporting the bill.
Plus, Chambliss is retiring after this term, so he doesn't have to worry about taking heat during a re-election bid.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the drafters of the Senate immigration bill, seems to think Chambliss is onboard, according to an exchange recounted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Daniel Malloy.
Malloy spoke with the pair of senators as they made their way to the Capitol in late May.
"We need an immigration reform bill, and I hope my friends listen to me is all I can say," Chambliss told the reporter.
McCain took the opportunity to speak for his colleague:
"We always listen to him," the Arizona senator said. "We'll do whatever he says, and it'll be an aye vote. You can quote me."
quicklist: 4title: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)text: Collins voted against an immigration reform bill in 2007 and the DREAM Act in 2010. But the moderate Republican is still believed to be reachable this time around.