On Thursday, the House will vote on Kate’s Law, a bill that stiffens penalties for illegal immigrants caught entering the country repeatedly. The legislation is expected to pass, sending it over to the upper chamber for consideration where its chances of surviving a vote are much lower.
What will it take for the Senate to land Kate’s Law on the president’s desk for signing?
Republicans, 52 of whom currently serve in the Senate, will need 60 votes in favor of the bill, meaning the GOP have to win the support of eight Democrats. A bipartisan vote is likely, but finding eight Democratic senators may be a bar too high to overcome.
When the bill was considered in July 2016, three Democrats actually voted to advance it: Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. That’s the same group of Senate Democrats that voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch in April, signaling their willingness to compromise with Republicans in the Trump era, even amid mounting pressure from an increasingly energetic base. Still, assuming those three votes remain, Republicans will need to tack on an additional five.
That’s asking a lot when your president’s approval rating is as low as it is.
Democrats are under pressure to distance themselves from his agenda at all costs or risk an onslaught of attacks from progressives unbothered by the task of slamming them for cooperating with President Trump on any policies. In that environment, it makes it difficult to imagine any additional Democrats shifting to side with Republicans.
At the same time, Trump’s campaign was boosted in large part by his hardline stance on immigration policies, revealing the hunger for a crackdown to be more widespread than many observers understood. Speaking to reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., signaled more understanding for members of his party who sided with Republicans on the law.
Hoyer suggested the “public’s perception…