This afternoon, the Senate voted to proceed with debate on S.744, the Gang of Eight amnesty bill. The first procedural vote was a vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed. That vote, which requires 60 votes, passed 82-15, with three members not voting.

The second procedural vote was a vote on the motion to proceed itself. The motion passed 84-15, with one Senator not voting. This outcome was largely expected. Even though many Senators object to the bill, some argued it was preferable to first hear and vote on amendments before voting against it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that debate on the amnesty bill will last until the July 4th Congressional recess, or about three weeks. Senators have already announced they plan to offer dozens of amendments to the bill in an attempt to improve it. Stay tuned for more information on these amendments and the debate as it continues.