Obama Enters 112th With Little GOP Support For Dream Act
While Pres. Obama declared at his recent news conference that he will not give up on working with Republicans to pass the Dream Act, come January he isn't likely to find much support among the GOP ranks.
Only four Republicans who voted this month for the bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants will be members of the 112th Congress: Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Latino Florida Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R). Meanwhile, Obama loses six senators that voted for the Dream Act to more conservative replacements.
Without winning over any new senators, Obama will start the 112th Congress with only 49 members of the Senate supporting the Dream Act.
Six out of eight House Republicans who supported the Dream Act are either retiring at the end of the 111th Congress or lost re-election bouts. That group includes Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Joseph Cao (R-La.), Mike Castle (R-Del.), Charles Djou (R-Hawaii), Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Bob Inglis (R-S.C.).
Cao, Castle and Djou are being replaced by Democrats while Mario Diaz-Balart ran unopposed in his brother Lincoln's district. Inglis lost a primary challenge from his right to Rep.-elect Trey Gowdy (R) in a runoff while Rep.-elect Justin Amash (R) succeeded the retiring moderate Ehlers. Sen. Bob Bennett (R) met a similar fate to Gowdy as he failed to emerge from the Utah GOP's nominating convention while facing two challengers from his right, including Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R).
Four of the outgoing House Republicans will be replaced by prospective Dream Act allies. Gowdy and Amash will likely be tougher sells as both received heavy Tea Party backing during their campaigns.
As for Obama's own party, 17 out of 38 House Democrats that voted against the Dream Act will not be returning to Congress. Of the seven Democrats who missed the Dec. 8 vote, four either are retiring or lost re-election runs of their own.
That means there will likely be less resistance from the House Democratic caucus to the Dream Act during the next Congress. However, Obama will will still need to pick up at least 40 House Republicans to pass the Dream Act if the remaining 21 Democratic opponents do not back the bill again. That, of course, assumes Republican leadership even allows a vote on the Dream Act in the first place.