The Senate has decided to allow debate to continue on the immigration bill. The vote was 69-23 with eight not voting. The vote would have been more lopsided if the five presidential candidates from the Senate - Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama were in attendance. Presumably, Senators Kerry and Nelson of Florida would have voted with the Democrats as well.



Senator Reid also announced he would allow for a second week of debate which will allow time for votes on a number of new amendments.



There were a few surprises. Ben Nelson of Nebraska spoke against the bill on the floor early on and then voted with the majority. Senator Cornyn (R-TX), the ranking member on the Senate Immigration Committee and a Bush loyalist, bolted from his leader despite earlier indications he would support a deal.
Only four Democrats voted in the minority - Baucas and Tester of Montana, Dorgan of North Dakota and  Byrd of West Virginia. Senator Sanders, the Vermont Indpendent who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted in the minority. Numerous Republicans voted with the majority including several who voted against S.2611 last year.



Finally, Senator Kennedy noted that  the first two amendments up tomorrow will relate to the guest worker program outlined in Title IV of the bill. Senator Dorgan of North Dakota will propose an amendment that would largely scrap the program and Senator Bingaman (D-NM) will propose an amendment to cut the 400,000 quota on guest workers in half.