Monday, June 10th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
We have the GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, running around behind the scenes promoting the amnesty bill with his base of donors. We have John Cornyn, the number 2 Republican, pushing a compromise that might be used for a final deal. Now, we have John Thune, the Conference Chair, saying that he hopes to attract more Republicans to the bill and raise the number of GOP yes votes.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the third-highest ranking Republican in the Senate, said he expects the Gang of Eight immigration bill will gain more than 60 votes, enough to avoid a filibuster from opponents.
“I think there’s a very real possibility that that they’ll have 60 — beyond 60, north of 60 — in order to get on the bill and then probably ultimately to pass it. The question is, can change be made in order to attract more people to it and make it a larger number?” said Thune on MSNBC’s “Mitchell Reports.”
Thune said he would wait until the bill went through the amendment process before deciding if he could support it.”I’m going to make that judgment after it moves across the floor and we get an opportunity through the amendment process to see how the bill gets changed, how it might get improved,” he said.
If you read between the lines of the statements from most GOP senators, particularly those in leadership, they are not concerned about the malice of the bill in itself; they are concerned about tweaking the bill so more Republicans can vote for it and pressure the GOP-controlled House into passing amnesty first, enforcement later (or never).
Monday, June 10th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
When the establishment is looking to recruit someone to run for Senate, they first look to find like-minded people in the House. What better person to be a yes-man for McConnell than someone who has been a yes-man for House leadership? Their latest recruit is Congressman Bill Cassidy who is being supported by all of the establishment in his bid for Senate.
Every Republican in Washington plans to run for election against Obamacare. However, they all understand that we lack the votes to repeal the law statutorily. The only thing we can do is vote to defund Obamacare and the individual mandate through the HHS and Financial Services Appropriations bills. But when the rubber meets the road, the establishment types are missing in action. Bill Cassidy is one of those members who likes to inveigh against Obamacare even as he votes to fund it in the spending bills. He likes to take digs at the IRS, even though he declined to join the effort to defund their Obamacare office.
Like most of the establishment candidates who feel insecure in their opposition to Obamacare, Cassidy took his turn posing behind the Mitch McConnell RINO-protection tower last month.
This tower of babel has become the latest prop to bolster weak Republicans during primaries. Those people like Jim Bridenstine and Ted Cruz don’t need a photo op to illustrate their opposition to Obamacare. Their conviction stands for itself. Cassidy, on the other hand, needs that extra distraction to ingratiate himself to primary voters.
And for good reason.
Sunday, June 9th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, News
It’s amazing how many Republicans ran for election as absolutely opposed to any form of amnesty – certainly before enforcing existing laws. Somehow within a year or two, all of them have had an epiphany. The latest example is Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, the third amigo in the McCain/Graham Schumer club.
In 2010, Ayotte ran strong on the issue of illegal immigration, and actually aired a number of ads lambasting her Democrat opponent on support for amnesty. During the primary, she had a strong Tea Party challenge from Ovide Lamontagne, winning by just 1600 votes. Needless to say, she wouldn’t have been caught dead supporting amnesty during that primary. Here is a quick summary of some of her greatest hits in 2010, brought to you by Project Vote Smart:
- Kelly Ayotte. News. 16 September 2010. “‘We don’t need to add, necessarily, more laws,” she said. “Let’s look at enforcing what we have on the immigration context and then measure where we are.’ Ayotte would push for illegal immigrants already living in the U.S. to be immediately deported and does not support any form of amnesty, she said.” (www.ayotteforsenate.com)
- Schoenberg, Shira. 2010. Concord Monitor: Ayotte in Line with GOP Policy. 16 August 2010. “Ayotte said she would first address illegal immigration by securing the country’s borders, enforcing existing immigration laws and making English the official language of the U.S.” (www.concordmonitor.com)
- Kelly Ayotte. Issue Position: Crime and Safety. “Kelly believes in the importance of enforcing our national borders and in ensuring only legal immigration.” (votesmart.org)
- Kelly Ayotte. Issue Position: Immigration. “In the Senate, Kelly’s top immigration priority will be to secure our borders — no excuses. Simultaneously, she will work to ensure that existing immigration laws are enforced and is against amnesty. Kelly knows that Americans can solve any problem if they put their mind to it — and she will bring that results-oriented approach to this critical issue.” (votesmart.org)
Well, fast-forward less than three years, and Ayotte plans to vote for the worst amnesty bill ever proposed. This, from Breitbart:
On Sunday’s Face the Nation (CBS), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced she would support the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform proposal. “Our immigration system is completely broken,” she said, calling the legislation “a thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem.” She specifically singled out the bill’s loose border security requirements for praise, labeling them strong enough to prevent “another wave of illegal immigration.”
Wow – just wow. This bill actually imposes numerous restrictions on future deportations, which, coupled with the new incentive of legalization, will ensure that there is a future wave. The future wave will, in turn, be guaranteed automatic defacto amnesty.
Of course, the most significant driver of all the defections is the support from the GOP Leader, Mitch McConnell. Hey, who needs Democrats when the GOP leader is scoring points for their side anyway?
Here’s a novel idea: if all these undocumented supporters of open borders think that ‘amnesty first, enforcement never’ is such a good idea, why don’t they have the moxie to run on that platform during the election. Why do all these people – from Rubio and Flake to McConnell, Hatch, and Ayotte – undergo such a cathartic change within a few years?
It’s time we call all the GOP offices and ask them to either vote no on cloture or stand before their constituents during the primaries and defend their real position on amnesty. A number of these weak Republicans (along with the phony red state Democrats) are up for reelection next year. They might think they are safe from a primary challenge, but we are still early in the cycle. There are a number of potential candidates who may come forward over the next few months. We look forward to seeing these brave statesmen defend their political U-turns with courage and alacrity.
Friday, June 7th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues
Earlier this week, the House voted on the first appropriations bills of the FY 2014 budget process. So far, leadership has kept their promise to allow an open amendment process on the bills. As such, members have been able to offer some good and some not so good amendments. Unfortunately, none of this will make a difference because they will cave on the final budget process at the end of the summer.
Among the amendments, were three votes that I highlighted in a spreadsheet: a bad amendment by Bill Cassidy to delay modest flood insurance reforms, a good amendment by Scott Garrett to block TSA-style searches outside of airport setting, and a King amendment to defund Obama’s illegal administrative amnesty. Click here to see the voting presentation.
Here is a description of the amendments from the Republican Study Committee:
Cassidy (R-LA)/Grimm (R-NY)/Palazzo (R-MS). This amendment delays implementation of Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Report Act of 2012 for one year. Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 ends the grandfathered National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rates and allows the premium rates to rise up to 20 percent per year over a five year period. According to the sponsor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not fully understand the implications of implementing Section 207 and has not accounted for all factors when creating their flood zone maps. The one year delay is designed to give FEMA time to properly implement the risk premium formulas and create accurate flood zone maps.
The amendment passed 281-144 with 94 GOP votes.
Garrett (R-NJ). This amendment prohibits any funds in the Act from being used by a Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPR) team or by the Transportation Security Administration to conduct security screening outside of an airport. According to the TSA, the VIPR program was developed by TSA after the Madrid train bombing in 2005. VIPR teams are fully mobile and can be deployed at “random locations and times” and are applicable to “all modes of transportation”. This amendment directs that screening will only be conducted following the provisions of Section 44901 of title 49. Section 44901 of title 49 applies to screening at airports only.
The amendment failed 180-247 with 68 Republicans voting no:
King (R-IA). This amendment prohibits funds from being used to follow specific memorandums authored by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that allow prosecutorial discretion, deferred action, and determines priorities regarding the removal and amnesty of illegal immigrants. Specifically, a June 15, 2012 memorandum instructs Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to grant deferred action to certain illegal aliens, directs officers to refrain from placing these individuals in removal proceedings, and permits personnel to grant employment to certain beneficiaries of this directive. A similar June 17, 2011 memo permits the use of discretion when granting amnesty to illegal immigrants based on a set of vague criteria. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor has ruled “that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings [when the law requires it].” This ruling was a result of ten ICE officers who filed a lawsuit on August 23, 2012, against Janet Napolitano and John Morton claiming that these directives placed them in a position to violate federal law in multiple ways. Heritage Action supports this amendment, and will be including it as a vote on their scorecard.
The amendment passed224-201. Only 6 Republicans voted against it. We hope the rest of the conference remain strong on the issue when it really counts. The 6 no votes were Bachus, S. (AL-06),Denham (CA-10), Grimm (NY-11),Nunes (CA-22), Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27),Valadao (CA-21). Yes, Bachus, who hails from one of the most conservative districts in the country, stands out like a sore thumb.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
[Update: The cloture vote on the farm bill passed 75-22, with the help of 22 Republicans.]
Today, the Senate will invoke cloture on the 5-year farm bill, S. 954. The 1150-page Senate bill costs $955 billion over 10 years and creates a new shallow loss program covering up to 90% of a farmer’s income – on the taxpayer dime. Roughly 80% of the cost is related to food stamps. For good measure, this bill contains sugar subsidies, biofuels subsidies, and conservation programs. This mega-bill was rushed through the committee process and has only been subject to four amendments on the floor. I guess Reid is agog with enthusiasm to get to the amnesty bill.
The House bill is, more or less, the same thing; it just cuts an extra few billion of the baseline spending for food stamps, while adding more spending to socialist price support programs for Big Ag special interests. As an added bonus, it contains a Soviet-style milk productions regulatory regime and new taxes on rocks!
Meanwhile, instead of weaning the farmers off government dependency, this bill has created the potential for an entirely new crop subsidy. Earlier this week, the Senate adopted an amendment from Senator Moran, which would require the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to study and develop a crop insurance policy for alfalfa farmers, so they can receive their own carve out. It’s not like alfalfa farmers can’t take advantage of the current crop insurance program or the new shallow loss program; the special interests always need a personal handout.
Look, we all understand that it’s hard to end 80 years of government intervention in farming overnight, but do we really need to add more programs?
Moving forward, conservatives must work to break up the farm bill. The key element to passing massive farm bills over the years has been the inclusion of food stamps in the package. This allows members from rural and urban districts to “logroll” and trade their votes in exchange for each others’ special interest. The way to break this cycle is by separating the two elements, and demanding that each one stand on its own merit. Rep. Paul Broun is requesting signatories for a letter to Speaker Boehner asking for Food Stamps to be separated out from the House version of the farm bill before it is considered on the floor later this month. Please ask your member of Congress to sign the Broun letter.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
The most dangerous thing for supporters of open borders is public scrutiny of their plans. They have already noted that the administration’s endless scandals have provided them with cover to slip into the amnesty end-zone without anyone noticing. Fortunately, despite the divided attention of the conservative movement, most of the egregious provisions of the amnesty bill have been thoroughly exposed and disseminated throughout talk radio. With the understanding that this bill cannot pass sans support from representatives of conservative-base constituencies, the lobbyists for foreign interests are now employing a rope-a-dope strategy.
Senator Rubio is running around the media circuit asserting that he will vote against his own bill if the security measures are not strengthened. Now, stop and ask yourself this question: Why did Rubio spend three weeks challenging conservatives (his “fact vs. myth” series) who pointed out the blatant loopholes in his bill? Why is he still starring in the obnoxious Zuckerberg ads touting the very provisions of the bill he now repudiates?
It is quite obvious that Rubio and his staff are flummoxed by the degree of opposition from the conservative base. He knows that Democrats have the votes to pass the bill with just the GOP gang members and a few other usual reliable moderates. Just today, several red state Democrats indicated their support for the bill (laying waste to the myth of the moderate Democrat). Yet, Rubio doesn’t want to be a part of the misery he helped orchestrate unless he is joined by a large group of Republicans. Likewise, Schumer and the Democrats want Republicans to own this unpopular boondoggle so as to remove the political albatross from their necks.
Enter the Rubio-Cornyn amendment that will be offered next week. Now that Rubio is feigning outrage over the most blatant shortcoming of his bill – the lack of definitive enforcement – he is now trying to co-opt the outrage with a vacuous amendment designed more to give Republicans cover than to actually solve the problem.
On the surface, this amendment sounds like everything we have asked for. Here’s how CQ explains it (subscription req):
His proposal would require that federal agents have full control, or “situational awareness,” of the entire border and that they apprehend 90 percent of all potential border crossers in all border sectors.
It also would mandate fingerprint scanners or other biometric controls at all land and sea ports and the full implementation of the E-Verify employment verification system before those in provisional legal status can transition to green cards.
Cornyn wants the Department of Homeland Security to issue a comprehensive strategy to gain control of the border while also cutting in half the wait times at land crossings.
Right now, the bipartisan immigration bill (S 744) only requires that the Homeland Security secretary implement a plan to improve border security at three of the most high-risk border sectors. The government must also implement E-Verify and roll out an improved visa processing system at airports and seaports — although one that stops short of nationwide biometric screening — in order to set in motion the path to citizenship.
The floor amendment revisits language that Cornyn proposed during the bill’s Judiciary Committee markup. Those proposals were rejected and Cornyn voted against the bill in the committee.
Cornyn’s latest amendment also would boost funding for border protection efforts by $1 billion a year over six years and authorize 10,000 new border control agents over five years. Some misdemeanors — such as aggravated assault, domestic violence, child abuse or drunken driving — would become grounds to disqualify people from earning legal permanent residence.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
Earlier today, the House commenced the annual appropriators process when members began voting on amendments to the FY 2014 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriators bill. Rep. Steve King offered an amendment which would have barred the use of funds in the bill to enforce Davis Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements. Davis-Bacon mandates that federal government contractors pay prevailing union-level wages for work on federally funded projects. This law discriminates against non-union firms and costs taxpayers 22% for each project. The amendment was defeated as 36 Republicans joined with every Democrat to side with Big Labor against the taxpayers.
One would think that all Republicans would realize that not only do labor unions want to destroy the economy; they want to destroy the Republican Party. It’s incomprehensible why Republicans would want to offer handouts to those who bankroll the Democrat Party.
Here is a list of the members who voted against defunding Davis-Bacon. The so-called conservative, Paul Ryan, was among the Big Labor Republicans. Bonus fact: Bill Shuster (PA-9) represents the most conservative district of those who sided with the labor unions. We’re proud to be the first organization to endorse Art Halvorson against him in next year’s primary:
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
One of the biggest selling points of the gang’s immigration deform bill was the provision which would force amnestied illegals to pay back taxes. From listening to the peddlers of amnesty, one would think that the windfall to the Treasury from the taxes would be large enough to make the entire amnesty worthwhile. I’m sure you’ve heard those sleazy Zuckerberg ads playing Rubio’s speech about all the conditions for amnesty, including the requirement that they pay back taxes.
Well, despite the fact that all those conditions, including the tax provision, have been exposed as fraudulent, those ads are still contaminating the airwaves of conservative talk radio. In fact, Rubio himself now admits that the bill lacks the votes to pass because of all the failed promises. To digress for a moment, while Rubio is correct about the lack of public trust in the gang’s bill, which he helped craft, he is wrong about not having the votes. Democrats absolutely have the votes to pass the bill, including Rubio’s own vote. They might add some cosmetic amendments to the bill, but the basic structure will remain intact and will pass with over 60 votes.
Hearkening back to the tax provision, let’s put aside the fact that this bill only requires those illegals who have already been “assessed” by the IRS to pay back taxes. In the real world, that would mean that no illegal, aside for those who run conservative organizations, would be required to pay taxes pursuant to this legislation. But even if they would fix this loophole and require them to pay back taxes….they wouldn’t have to pay anything; they would actually make money off the system.
We have pointed out from day one that the entire notion of balancing the budget and saving the economy with millions of low-skilled immigrants is absurd. Most conservatives understand that over 40% of tax filing units from native Americans are not substantial enough to result in a net positive tax liability. In the case of the amnestied illegals, they will receive more in refundable tax credits than the small amount they pay in payroll taxes (very few of them will have any income tax liability). The Senate Judiciary Committee has already rejected amendments to bar the amnestied aliens from receiving refundable tax credits. This means that if they owe $2,000 in payroll taxes and receive $7,000 in refundable tax credits, they will walk away with $5,000.
Now, what if all of the amnesty recipients would be entitled to collect refundable tax credits retroactively from the time they began working here? According to Temple University law professor Jan Ting, that is a distinct possibility:
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
Today, our good friend, Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on her experience getting persecuted by the IRS. What is so unique about her testimony is not just the details she provides with regards to the IRS witch hunt against her organization, but how she passionately connects the IRS behavior with the broader problem of a tyrannical government that is threatening all of the founding ideals which made this country so great.
She also made all of us in the Tea Party proud of who we are and what we stand for. The left constantly demonizes us and lumps us in with their own special interests as uncompromising political operatives. The truth is that most tea party leaders are like Becky – middle class moms who simply feel that our country, as founded, is deteriorating due to the destruction of the civil society and big government. Unlike the special interest juke boxers from K Street who typically testify before this committee, Becky represented something new and refreshing.
You can watch her entire testimony here. It is worth viewing the whole thing:
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
Cross-posted from Red State
[Update: Politico just revised it original story and took out the part about McConnell waiving the right to force a vote. They now say Reid's agreement with McConnell was just that he "won’t oppose bringing the immigration bill to the floor." Whether this is more shoddy reporting from McConnell or a change in heart by the minority leader is yet to be determined. The Hill seems to suggest that McConnell did in fact agree not to force a cloture vote. If McConnell did not intend to offer that agreement, he should make sure Harry Reid doesn't get "the wrong message."
We must continue to pressure him to force a vote on motion to proceed. Either way, this is wrongheaded policy, as Democrats have made it clear they will vote down all enforcement amendments. There is no reason to vote yes on motion to proceed.]
We all understand that there is a lot of money to be raised by supporting the amnesty bill. It comes as no surprise that McConnell is promoting this bill on K Street every week. But one would expect a man who was in the Senate long enough to vote for the 1986 amnesty to be a bit more cautious in jumping into the same sinkhole this late in his career. Instead, McConnell plans to lay down in front of the La Raza tanks and let them steamroll through the Senate.
Mitch McConnell has already announced that he plans to vote for cloture to proceed with debate on the bill, ostensibly sealing the fate of the bill. Today, he has announced that there will be no cloture vote at all: (Politico)
The Senate will begin considering the landmark immigration reform bill next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday morning.
“Even if we we’ve not completed action on the farm bill or the student loans proposals, we’re going to bring immigration to the floor next week. Immigration is broken, it needs to be fixed,” Reid said in his opening remarks on Tuesday.
Reid said it’s his understanding that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow the bill to come to the floor without having to clear a procedural vote, and Reid said he is “grateful” to his Republican colleague for not pushing for cloture.
In his opening remarks, McConnell did not mention the immigration bill.
So McConnell plans to allow the bill to proceed by unanimous consent. It is precisely this cloddish leadership from McConnell that has rendered our filibuster-breaking minority worthless.