By Carrie Dann, Political Reporter, NBC News
In an initial victory for proponents of comprehensive immigration reform, the Senate on Tuesday easily passed a procedural vote to begin debate on the broad bipartisan measure, with just 15 senators — all Republicans — objecting.
The preliminary 82-15 vote — which required 60 votes for passage — offers an initial show of strength for supporters of the legislation, although some Republicans who voted for the initial procedural measure say they will not support the final product unless amendments are added to strengthen the legislation’s requirements to secure the nation’s southern border.
A short while later, a vote on the motion to proceed — which needed just a simple majority — passed by a similar 84-15 margin.
The votes came hours after President Barack Obama, flanked by a broad array of supporters in remarks at the White House, urged Congress to act on the legislation and warned opponents that there is “no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction.”
“If you’re serious about actually fixing the system, then this is the vehicle to do it,” Obama said.
A final vote on the legislation is not expected until before the chamber’s July 4 recess. Obama said Tuesday that he wants the bill to his desk by the end of the summer.