Throwaway Vote

Senate Dems Ponder Symbolic (AKA Useless) Immigration Gesture

The immigration reform bill is coming back up in the Senate next week and with it the debate among Democrats about whether to protect same-sex bi-national couples or just wring their hands as a sign of sympathy.

The political equation hasn’t changed since Democrats, with a loud show of reluctance, decided not to include those protections in the bill that the Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately passed. Republicans, including Marco Rubio, the alleged future of the party, continue to insist that any such amendment would be a lavender-colored poison pill.

Of course, there is an option that would make the Democrats look good without actually accomplishing anything. The amendment could be brought to the floor for a vote. Since we now live in the era of the supermajority, where 60 votes are needed for anything to pass the Senate, the amendment wouldn’t gather enough votes to pass. However, Democrats could be on the record as supporting it and Republicans could be on the record as…well, you fill in the blank.

In its unending quest to duck its primary responsibility of governing, the Senate may just be waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA later this month. If the Supremes rule that DOMA is unconstitutional, gay American citizens may be able to sponsor their spouse for immigration benefits and once again Congress would be spared having to break a sweat over us.