After months of negotiations, leaks, and press conferences, the United States Senate will begin voting on President Obama’s biggest second-term priority, immigration reform, this week. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark-up the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill and, while many amendments will be proposed, especially from conservatives, few real changes are expected to be made.

“We’ve got to basically stick to the standard of what we’ve established, what we’ve agreed over the last three months,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told CNN’s Candy Crowley Sunday. In other words, look for Democrats to kill any conservative efforts to change the basic amnesty-for-enforcement structure of the bill.

But before the Senate starts voting, a former senator will first weigh in with a much-anticipated report that could snuff out any remaining conservative support for the legislation. At 11:30 a.m. Monday, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint will release will release a report authored by Robert Rector and Jason Richwine showing that the Schumer-Rubio bill will cost American taxpayers trillions. Heritage has not yet released the top line number of their new study, but a similar report on the 2007 immigration bill estimated that it would cost $2.6 trillion.

Previewing their findings Friday, Richwine explained why other organizations have so badly underestimated the costs of Schumer-Rubio:

In attempting to argue that the cost is lower, supporters of amnesty point to provisions in S. 744, the “Gang of Eight” bill, that would deny continued provisional status and legal permanent residency to individuals who are below the poverty line. Since immigrants in poverty are excluded from the amnesty, the argument goes, then the cost to taxpayers would be much lower. The short response is that the exclusion of people below the poverty line is a legal mirage that will never happen. A loophole in the law makes the poverty provision meaningless.

Richwine goes on to point out correctly that current immigration law already contains prohibitions on granting residency and citizenship to people “likely to become a public charge,” but these provisions are almost never enforced. There is no reason to believe the Obama administration would magically begin enforcing them after Schumer-Rubio became law.

Pro-amnesty Republicans like Grover Norquist and Douglas Holtz-Eakin have been fervently working behind the scenes to discredit Rector, his 2007 study, and the report he will release today. Having DeMint, perhaps the most trusted name in the conservative movement, back Rector’s new study will make their job much harder. Schumer-Rubio will begin to lose what little conservative support it ever had, starting today.

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Reuters, Syrian rebels used sarin gas: U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin.
Associated Press, Obama to launch series of trips on economic plans: President Barack Obama is launching a series of quick jaunts around the country to remind Americans he’s still got jobs and the economy on his mind. Obama will kick off the effort Thursday with a trip to Austin, Texas, the White House said. While in Texas, the president will visit a technical high school and meet with entrepreneurs. He’ll also drop in on a tech company and talk with blue-collar workers.
The Wall Street Journal, Colleges Cut Prices by Providing More Financial Aid: Private U.S. colleges, worried they could be pricing themselves out of the market after years of relentless tuition increases, are offering record financial assistance to keep classrooms full.
The Washington Post, Europe’s carbon market goes bust: As the centerpiece of Europe’s pledge to lead the global battle against climate change, the region’s market for carbon emissions effectively turned pollution into a commodity that could be traded like gold or oil. But the once-thriving pollution trade here has turned into a carbon bust.
Public Policy Polling, Sanford has momentum in SC-1: PPP’s final poll of the special election in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District finds a race that’s too close to call, with Republican Mark Sanford leading Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, 47-46. The one-point lead for Sanford represents a 10-point reversal from PPP’s poll of the race two weeks ago, when Colbert Busch led by 9 points at 50-41.

Lefty Playbook
Think Progress explains How Colbert Busch Plans To Win Next Tuesday’s Special Election.
Dan Hopkins tells liberals not to worry, immigration does not undermine support for welfare.
Kevin Drum on what the Oregon Medicaid study doesn’t show.

Righty Playbook
Kevin Williamson on how the private sector will save America after the government collapses from overspending.
Ross Douthat urges Republicans to replace Medicaid with catastrophic health insurance.
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., on how Obama is cooking the books on deportations.