Parties Polarize on Immigration in Senate

So no sooner had Politico‘s Manu Raju and John Bresnahan reported a rift between Sens. Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid over the degree to which conservative amendments to the Gang of Eight immigration bill should be accomodated to boost the final vote than Schumer went out of his way to align himself with Reid in condemning the newly-unveiled Cornyn Amendment as unacceptable.

So the ball goes back over the net to Senate Republicans to break with Cornyn. So far, Lindsey Graham’s the only one who didn’t greet that amendment with hearty attaboys.

They better get a move on, though. The longer Cornyn’s amendment sits out there attracting conservative attention, the more likely it becomes that it will rapidly be turned into a litmus test for Senate Republican support for immigration reform. If I had to guess what’s going on behind the scenes, Marco Rubio’s trying to talk Cornyn into backing his own yet-to-be-defined amendment once the Texan’s measure is predictably voted down, making it possible for other GOPers to follow.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.