Senate Drops Two Liberal Priorities

Posted December 9, 2010 at 11:10am

A pair of liberal priorities were set aside in the Senate on Thursday, where Members voted against bringing to the floor a health bill for 9/11 workers and an immigration bill similar to one that passed the House late Wednesday night.

The Senate voted 59-40 to table the DREAM Act. The bill would give a path to citizenship to up to 2 million college students and soldiers who were brought to the United States illegally as children. House Democrats scored a legislative win Wednesday night in passing their version of the measure 216-198, mostly along party lines.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put forward a motion to set aside the Senate version of the bill and vowed to bring up the House measure soon in hopes the Senate can pass it and send it to the White House for signature.

“We’re going to proceed and do everything we can to pass what the House did,” Reid said.

The Senate also failed to pass a procedural motion to consider legislation to provide health care and other benefits to 9/11 workers. The Senate voted 57-42 on the motion, which required 60 votes for passage.

Without action on either measure, both top priorities for Senate liberals, Reid is expected to bring up a procedural motion on the defense authorization measure that includes a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Momentum appears to be building behind a repeal of the policy that bans openly gay military service members, although it remains unclear whether Reid has the 60 votes needed to get to the defense bill that contains the repeal language.