In somewhat of a surprise, the House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act last night by a vote of 216 to 198 but it’s unlikely the bill will get through a Senate filibuster today.
As expected, all three African-American reps from Illinois, Danny Davis, Bobby Rush, and Jesse Jackson, voted to support the Dream Act. So did lakefront liberals Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley. All are Democrats.
Luis Gutierrez, the bill’s main man in the House, managed to lead almost all the other suburban and downstate Dems to vote yay: Melissa Bean, Debra Halverson, Phil Foster and Bill Hare.
All these had been on the fence prior to the roll call. Bean, who was defeated for re-election, had been a target of heavy lobbying in the last month.
But two Illinois Democrats, the 12th district’s Jerry Costello and Dan Lipinski of the 3rd, joined 36 other party members to break ranks and vote nay.
Though Costello was an early supporter of President Obama (and was mentioned as a possible Secretary of Transportation before Ray LaHood got the nod), he reps a predominantly white, working class district over the river from St. Louis.
But Lipinski, scion of Bill, the district’s former Congressman-for-ever, is in a changing area. A former Polish stronghold that has always leaned conservative, the 3rd has been slowly becoming Latino. Currently 58 percent white and diminishing, and more than 30 percent Hispanic and growing, the 3rd has tripled its Latino population since 2000. I’ll put money that Lipinski gets a Latino challenger in two years, and that he’ll have a race on his hands.
Every single Republican Congressman from Illinois voted against the bill, including John Shimkus, who’d been a target of lobbying efforts.
Nationwide, eight Republicans broke ranks and voted in favor. Except for two Cuban-Americans from Florida, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the other six were all lame ducks, including the retiring Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Mario’s brother).
The rest were:
· Mike Castle of Delaware, who was defeated in the GOP primary by Christine O’Donnell;
· Joseph Cao of Louisiana, another lame duck, the first Vietnamese-American in Congress and the only GOPer to vote for the first version of the healthcare bill;
· Charles Djou of Hawai’i, who just got to the House in May in a special election but was dumped in November;
· Vern Ehlers of Michigan -- serving in Gerald Ford’s old seat, he didn’t seek re-election in November;
· And South Carolina’s Bob Inglis, who was slaughtered 71 to 29 percent in the GOP primary for, among other things, opposing the troop surge in Iraq.