Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Searching for 60 Update: The Hill has a very interesting story on how "Webb, Tester, and McCaskill are Key Votes." These three senators--all Democrats, all newly elected, all voting against cloture last time--are being put under tremendous pressure by both sides this story says. Webb (VA), who has an amendment pending in the 22-amendment "package" of the "grand bargain," has said that, if his amendment limiting the legalization of individuals fails, he will not vote for bill. But he "would not say whether he would vote on the motion to proceed to the bill" (i.e. cloture). This story says he may be under the most pressure. On McCaskill (MO):
“It’s difficult to tell where she would be on a cloture motion at this point; she has had significant concerns, and if those things are not addressed, she wouldn’t vote to proceed to the bill,” the senator’s spokeswoman, Adrianne Marsh, said.
So she may still be unlikely to vote for cloture--and seems slightly less likely to vote for cloture than Webb. It all depends on what her "concerns" are....This story doesn't say as much about Tester.

Switching to Republicans--Will 17 R's Switch?: Via WaPo:
One senior aide close to the discussions predicted that as many as 24 Republicans would back moving ahead with the bill under the scenario envisioned _ compared with just seven GOP senators who did so previously.
Now, this prediction is probably part of the expectations game--but it probably has some grounding. If this prediction is true, they have already gained 17 votes for cloture from Republicans alone--2 more than the coalition needs to move ahead with the bill and, it seems, pass it. A lot of Republicans just got a bit more likely to switch. See revised vote list.