Senate tables DREAM Act, putting vote off again

The Senate just voted, 59 to 40, to table their version of the DREAM Act and vote on the version passed in the House yesterday next week. For those throwing C-SPAN-watching parties to watch to vote, it must be frustrating to have to wait more, but that’s sort of how passing laws works — as in court proceedings, procedural maneuvers often delay the big event.

UPDATE: There is some confusion over whether the DREAM Act is “dead” now. The answer, technically, is “no” — only the Senate version of the bill is dead. Maegan at VivirLatino has a good explanation:

Senator Reid twice asked to vitiate the vote on cloture which means to set it aside. This was objected to, twice. So then Reid moved to table the vote, which means killing the Senate version of the DREAM Act so that the House version, which passed last night, CAN be voted on later. This motion to table passed, 59-40. We are not sure when vote on the House version of DREAM in the Senate will happen. Most likely it will be next week.

Some advocates are hoping that the extra time — and the fact that any vote on DREAM will take place after the Senate votes on the Bush tax cuts — will buy some time to round up votes and give Republicans an incentive to compromise. But given the stiff opposition from conservatives this go-around, it’s unlikely the DREAM Act will pass. Then again — and perhaps this is overly cynical — it seems the act was moribund the minute it reached the Senate. That’s what happens when the rules let an intransigent minority run the show.

Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect in Washington, D.C. His pieces have appeared in The Nation, Slate, The Advocate, the Daily Beast, and other publications. He is a graduate of Yale University and a native of Nogales, Arizona.

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