Happy Hour Roundup

* The Senate officially passes comprehensive immigration reform, 68-32, a major step forward. That gets close to the 70 votes Chuck Schumer wanted, and the pressure now intensifies on the House. Dems voted unanimously for the legislation; every No vote came from Republicans. If the GOP-controlled House kills reform, the Republican Party takes full blame.

* Indeed, more than half of the Senate GOP caucus voted No. And this, from Nate Cohn, is striking:

There was less Republican support for today’s bill than there was in 2006: Only 30 percent of Senate Republicans voted for today’s immigration bill, compared to 42 percent in 2006. Over the last seven years, just two Senate Republicans — Lamar Alexander and Orin Hatch — switched from “no” to “yes.”

* Sahil Kapur Tweets from the Senate floor:

I asked [John] McCain if the GOP can recover in 2016 if immigration reform dies. His full response: “No.”

* But there’s no way reform will ever pass the House, right? Dylan Matthews sketches out three routes to passage.

* And there’s no way the Senate bill would ever get a vote in the House, right? Jonathan Chait offers one route, via some hardball from House Dems.

* Brian Beutler on John Boehner’s predicament: It’s very likely the only thing that can get support from a majority of House Republicans, as he insists is necessary, will look nothing like, you know, actual immigration reform.

* Jennifer Rubin documents today’s heartfelt immigration speech on the Senate floor from Marco Rubio, and this really is a big moment for the Senator. Remember, for the longest time he threatened to bolt. In the end, he found a way to support reform that Dems could also support — even if it meant taking a lot of heat from the right in the process.

* Ed Kilgore on the very delicate balancing act Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio must strike if they want to be generally identified with immigration reform while maintaining viable in a 2016 GOP presidential primary.

* Some solid NPR reporting on how Treasury inspector general Russell George and his office appear to be changing their tune on the reason for the IRS audit’s failure to mention the targeting of progressive groups.

Remember: Dems have asked House Republicans to summon George back to the Hill for more questioning under oath; this is one of several things he’d likely be pushed to account for.

* Beth Reinhard on how that GOP “makeover” is colliding headlong with SCOTUS’s decisions on gay marriage and voting rights, and why Dems are happy to encourage the resulting tensions.

* Fascinating question from Francis Wilkinson: In striking down the core of the Voting Rights Act, did SCOTUS just turn Texas blue? The big question will be how much this galvanizes minorities against the GOP, as opposed to resulting in voting restrictions on them.

* New Dem polling shows support for expanded background checks running very high in red and purple states where Senators voted against it. Good, but gun reform folks must show they can sustain organizing and energy around the issue.

* Linda Hirshman on why yesterday’s SCOTUS rulings may potentially have potentially far reaching implications indeed for the future of gay civil rights in America.

* And via Taegan Goddard, MSNBC’s First Read crew puts the big events of this week in heartening perspective:

It’s easy to lose sight of the biggest story over the past five years — just how much change (both socially and demographically) this country has witnessed over the past four years. The nation has its first African-American president who won re-election a year ago. A majority of Americas now support gay marriage, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits. The country is on track to be a majority-minority nation 30 years from now. And the Senate is poised to pass immigration legislation giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

Taken together, this is a stunning amount of social change in a very short period of time. And all of that change helps to explain much of the partisanship and politics over the past four years. After all, when one side is pursuing change, the other side is often resisting it.

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.
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Greg Sargent | June 27, 2013