A bill which would scrap the green card lottery and grant green cards to certain science, technology, engineering and math professionals who have received advanced degrees from US institutions won a crucial vote on the House floor today. By a margin of 243 -170, Republicans, joined by ten Democrats, voted to allow the bill to come up for debate and a final vote tomorrow where it is expected to pass by a similar margin.

The bill would provide certain STEM professionals (a number, including cancer researchers and medical dotors are excluded) with green card quota numbers pulled from the would be scrapped green card lottery. Spouses and children would not get green cards except that they could get a non-immigrant visa to be in the US and then eventually the STEM spouse or parent could file for permanent residency for them through the family categories. Those spouses and children would not have the authority to work while waiting.

Democrats and the White House have opposed the bill because it won't increase green card numbers overall and because they want to include STEM legislation in a comprehensive reform bill. That's why most observers believe the bill will not move on the Senate side.