Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday filed cloture on the motion to proceed to the immigration bill, setting up votes as early as June 10 on the landmark legislation.
A Senate Democratic aide said Thursday that the chamber would proceed to the immigration bill as soon as it wraps work on the pending farm bill. The Senate avoided a filibuster of that bill by adopting a motion to cut off debate Thursday by a 75-22 vote. Sixty votes were needed.
Leaders still need an agreement to hold a final vote on that before moving off the bill.
In layman's terms, this means that next week is when the real show on immigration begins. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in May on a 13-5 vote. Though the committee proceeding was open and the panel considered more than 200 amendments before final passage, the battle on the full Senate floor is expected to be more intense.
Negotiators on the bill are hoping it will garner more than 70 votes to pressure the House to move on the issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., previously said he would not block debate on the bill, but Democratic leaders have said they do not yet have a filibuster-proof 60 votes and that they could lose a few of their own members.