- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Senate Republicans narrowly missed a chance Thursday to halt President Obama’s non-deportation policies, falling just short in a vote that saw even five Democrats join them in signaling worries over the White House’s immigration plans.

The showdown came on a procedural vote. Republicans wanted to carve out legislative space to offer an amendment to the year-end stopgap spending bill preventing Mr. Obama from expanding his non-deportation policies. They needed six Democrats to join them.

Only five Democrats voted with the GOP, however, and the effort died on a 50-50 tie vote — leaving the chamber speeding toward passage of the spending bill, which also includes permission for the Pentagon to arm and train Syrian rebels fighting against the Islamic State terrorists.

“The choice could not be more clear. Do we, as a nation, have the right to control our own borders? That is the question every senator will be answering today,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, said ahead of the vote.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire all voted with the GOP.

Mr. Obama had intended to take unilateral action to halt deportations at the end of the summer, but he put those plans on hold until after the election, fearful that he could damage re-election prospects for Ms. Hagan, Ms. Landrieu, Ms. Shaheen and Mr. Pryor, all of whom are facing tough re-election bids.

Those four lawmakers waited until the end before voting, leading Republicans to conclude they waited until it was clear the vote would fail on a 50-50 tie. If the GOP had mustered one more supporter, they would have succeeded.

All four had previously voted against an earlier attempt by Republicans. Mr. Manchin voted with the GOP then too.

Immigration has proved to be a thorny issue in elections.

Mr. Obama won re-election to the White House in 2012 in part because he acted unilaterally, granting tentative legal status to young adult illegal immigrants, or so-called Dreamers, winning praise from Hispanic voters.

But the surge of illegal immigrant children on the border this summer changed the political calculations, with voters saying they were now more interested in border security than in legalizing illegal immigrants.

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