What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Farmers : HR 1268. Fiscal 2005 Supplemental Appropriations/Vote to Invoke Cloture on an Amendment to Create a Two-Step Process for Agricultural Workers to Apply for Temporary and then Permanent Legal Residence in the U.S.
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HR 1268. Fiscal 2005 Supplemental Appropriations/Vote to Invoke Cloture on an Amendment to Create a Two-Step Process for Agricultural Workers to Apply for Temporary and then Permanent Legal Residence in the U.S.
senate Roll Call 98     Apr 19, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

When issues such as a national emergency or a natural disaster arise which require immediate funding, Congress often drafts a supplemental appropriations bill to provide additional government funding for needs which were not foreseeable during the normal congressional appropriations process. One of the most hotly-contested areas of debate on the 2005 Supplemental Appropriations bill involved the status of immigrant workers in the U.S. (The general purpose of the supplemental spending bill was to provide emergency funding for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan and disaster relief assistance for victims of the December 2004 tsunami.) In an effort to address the seasonal worker shortage in agricultural areas of the country, Senator Craig (R-ID) introduced an amendment which would have created a two-step process for agricultural workers to apply for temporary and then permanent legal residence in the U.S. (Senators attributed the current shortage in temporary workers to newly-imposed caps on the H-2B visa program. That program allowed businesses to hire foreign temporary seasonal workers with a mandated return to their home country when no other American workers were available.) Progressives supported Craig's proposal as a way to insure the continued availability of labor for small and seasonal businesses. Senator Mikulski (D-MD), a co-sponsor of the amendment, explained that "My amendment helps keep American jobs, keep American companies open, and yet retains control of our borders. Small and seasonal businesses all over our country are in crisis. They need seasonal workers before the summer can begin so they can survive." Conservatives opposed the Craig-Mikulski amendment and argued that it would encourage new illegal immigrants to enter the U.S. According to Senator Kyl (R-AZ), "There would be an ability for people not in the United States but who would like to come here to claim they worked in the country illegally, and that would give them an ability to come here and apply for this same status." The subject of this vote was a procedural motion to invoke cloture on the Craig-Mikulski amendment, a motion which Progressives endorsed based on their support for the proposal. If successful, the cloture motion would limit debate and amendment on the underlying legislation and allow the matter to be voted upon. However, sixty votes are required to invoke cloture, an often difficult task in the divided Senate. Although fifty three senators voted to invoke cloture, the motion failed to attract the necessary sixty votes to shut off debate and the Craig-Mikulski amendment was not allowed to proceed to a final vote.

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