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The 'Nays' Have It: Upper Midwest Senate Delegation & Full Body Vote Against Immigration Bill

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On Thursday the United States Senate voted against cloture on the high profile immigration reform bill that divided politicians on Capitol Hill much more than the American public. Overall, a vast majority of Americans opposed the bill, advocating 'enforcement first' immigration policies, such as sealing the border, before contemplating whether or not potential citizenship opportunities should be offered to any of the 12 million estimated illegal aliens currently residing in the United States. The senate legislation sought to address both of these concerns.

The 53-46 vote against cloture witnessed a division within political parties: 12 Republicans voted for cloture, while 15 Democrats voted against it—including several newly elected Democratic Senators in right-leaning or purple states: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jim Webb of Virginia, John Tester of Montana, and Sharrod Brown of Ohio.

The Upper Midwest Senate delegation voted 4-3 against cloture as well. Democrats Amy Klobuchar (MN), Herb Kohl (WI), and Russ Feingold (WI) supported the legislation, while Republicans Charles Grassley (IA), John Thune (SD), and Norm Coleman (MN) were joined by Democrat Tom Harkin (IA) against ending debate (SD senior Senator Tim Johnson is now in his seventh month recovering from an illness that has kept him from voting since December 2006).

Harkin released a statement indicating he was largely in favor of the legislation, with the caveat that the bill did not offer enough protection to American workers as the influx of additional immigrants would "drive down wages and benefits, and weaken the bargaining power of all workers."

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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