The Worst Piece of Legislation in American History

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

Cross-posted from RedState.com

As we noted on Friday, even though Schumer completely repackaged the amnesty bill with only 3 days to comb through 1190 pages, the fix is in.  Every Democrat is prepared to vote for this bill, and at least 10-12 Republicans couldn’t care less about their constituents.  They have the votes.  They don’t care about the American people.  Amazingly, there is a supermajority of Senators who are more in tune with the whims of foreign lobbies than with the security needs of the American people.

I have no plans to reread this entire bill in order to ascertain all the changes and shenanigans in the bill.  But here are some of the highlights:

  • Immediate Amnesty; Security Never: The 2006 Secure Fence Act spelled out every mile of fencing and required immediate construction.  Ninety-five percent of the fence was never built.  This bill grants immediate amnesty, and doesn’t require the surge in border agents until 2017.  That will never happen.  As for the fence, here is what Senator Sessions noted over the weekend, “the fencing language in Corker-Hoeven is ineffectual and unenforceable.  The underlying bill still says that nothing in this provision shall be interpreted as requiring the Secretary to construct fencing.  Also, it is weaker than the 2006 law which requires double-layer, reinforced fencing.  The amendment establishes a ten-year deadline for completing the fence but retains the waiver authority for DHS not to build fencing.  Under their proposal, the fence will never be completed.”  See page 35, as reported by Breitbart.
  • Permanent Defacto amnesty: Throughout the process, we’ve noted that the most pernicious part of the bill is that it permanently ties the hands of border agents, and in conjunction with the requirement that every alien be afforded reasonable opportunity to stand for legal status, this bill will void out all deportations.  The substitute amendment takes this further by granting those who are caught overstaying their visas in the future an opportunity to stay on the path to citizenship.  This is literally a bill that takes the worst elements of a supposed broken immigration system and blows the holes wide open.
  • Visa Pork: Much like Obamacare, this bill contains earmarks in the form of “visa pork” to buy off votes.  Section 4407 (Page 983) expands the J-Visa Summer Work Travel Program to seafood processing positions in Alaska, in order to buy off Murkowski and Begich.  It also includes a provision in the new low-skilled W-visa guest worker program, exempting jobs in the Alaskan seafood processing industry from the annual cap.  Page 52 of the bill extends the Travel Promotion Act, which is something the Nevada tourist industry has been pushing.  It’s a carve out for Dean Heller.
  • Triggers:  Obviously, the triggers 10 years from now mean nothing because the illegals will enjoy immediate legal status with social Security numbers and drivers’ licenses.  But even the triggers before the citizenship aren’t triggers.  The legal waivers in the underlying bill will allow the issuance of green cards to proceed if the security measures are blocked due to the inevitable lawsuits.  Also, the language of the amendment only requires the Secretary of DHS to “consult” with the Attorney General and other department heads before going ahead with green cards.
  • Stimulus: It provides $1.5 billion in stimulus to “create” jobs for the youth.

Oh, and it still retains almost all of the several dozen fatal flaws in the underlying bill.

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The Path Forward on the Farm Bill

Thursday, June 20th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News

Today, GOP leadership suffered a stunning defeat as 62 Republicans voted against the 5-year farm bill (H.R. 1947), which locks in the record baseline of food stamp spending and creates multiple new agriculture subsidy programs.  A handful of them voted against it because it cut too much spending, and others like Bill Shuster voted no because they are facing potential primary challenges (Shuster voted for the 2008 bill).  But this is a strong showing, as it is a dynamic none of us would have ever predicted several years ago.

Some Republicans are complaining that because of the conservative revolt we will now continue on the status quo with direct farm subsidies.  But they fail to understand that the new price support programs and shallow loss coverage that were created by this bill would have been more expensive and represent worse market distortions than direct subsidies.  It’s better to reauthorize the status quo than to pass a long-term bill that creates even more problems and precludes real reforms for another 5 years.

Other Republicans complain that now we will face the so-called milk cliff.  Pursuant to a silly 1949 act of Congress, every time we fail to renew expiring farm programs, the government must begin imposing Soviet-style price controls on milk by decreasing supplies through massive purchases of milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products.  Under permanent law, the USDA would begin purchasing dairy products at a rate of $38.54 per hundredweight, more than double the current price ($18 per hundredweight).  This market manipulation could double the price of milk, dairy products, and everything else up the food chain.

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Corker-Hoeven: Schumer’s Wimp Brigade Rides to the Rescue

Thursday, June 20th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

WIMP  (wmp)

n.

A subatomic particle that has a large mass and interacts with other matter primarily through gravitation.

n. Informal.

1. a weak, ineffectual, timid person.

Political

Representing a state like North Dakota and scoring a 47% from Heritage Action while working overtime to save Democrats and pass a dying amnesty bill

Imagine if Democrats elected senators from blue states in the northeast who worked behind closed doors with Ted Cruz to craft national right to work legislation or a compromise plan to privatize Social Security?  That’s about as likely as Lady Gaga joining the Family Research Council.

Yet, we continue to elect Republicans like John Hoeven who work behind the scenes to carry water for the progressives.  They gravitate to one-sided compromises that sell out our Republic like flies on ethanol.

By now, you’re probably asking, John who?

Yes, Hoeven has been awfully quiet since being coronated in 2010.  Aside for the occasional noise about the Keystone Pipeline, he doesn’t do much in the Senate…other than vote to raise the debt ceiling, fund Obamacare, implement an internet sales tax, support earmarks, increase food stamp spending, and vote for every subsidy under the sun.

Now he has taken it upon himself to serve as the less charismatic appendix to Bob Corker in saving Schumer’s dying amnesty bill.  After being outspent exponentially in this fight by the insidious open borders lobby, the truth that We the People have disseminated on this issue is taking its toll on Schumer and his allies.  Nobody in the House wants to touch this bill with a 10-foot pole, and the pathway to 60 votes is diminishing every day.

In come Corker and Hoeven to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and negotiate a poor-man’s Cornyn compromise with the Gang of 8.  In their ineluctable desire to pass an amnesty bill with the requisite window dressing, the new wimp coalition is pushing yet another phony compromise.  Yes, because constituents from states like Tennessee and North Dakota are flooding their offices with calls demanding “give us amnesty or give us death.”  According to Politico, this deal would be a watered-down version of Cornyn’s amendment, which Erick already exposed as pathetic:

The emerging deal would soften Republican requests for a strict requirement that 90 percent of illegal border crossers be apprehended to hit a “trigger” toward a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but would provide an unprecedented increase in border security funding and officers and a guarantee on finishing the fence along the Southern border, sources said.

They also say they will double the border patrol.  But what good is more border agents if the administration ties their hands?  Most importantly, all the triggers in this plan will occur after legalization.  So somehow we are supposed to believe that they will actually implement these enforcement triggers after they already have their amnesty.   Needless to say, Schumer calls their work “really productive.”

Folks, at some point we need to start gaming out red state Senate races far in advance in pursuit of a real Republican instead of reflexively thinking about picking up the state with just any R.  It is that mentality – a lazy tendency to pick the first candidate with high name recognition months in advance – which has saddled us with a bunch of prairie progressives from the red states in the Great Plains.

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State of Play in the Senate

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

We are proud to have been the first major comprehensive conservative organization to formulate a cogent immigration policy and lead the fight against reckless amnesty from day one.  When we began the fight, very few conservatives on and off the Hill were willing to publicly oppose Obama’s immigration policy, as many of them were intimidated by the phony electoral prognosis propagated by GOP consultants.

Now, several months later, the tide is turning, and it is turning rapidly.  The base is on fire, and very few Republicans want to be associated with Rubio and his silly gang.  Honestly, I didn’t think we were able to defeat this bill in the Senate, and have been focusing much of our efforts on the House side.  But is appears that we are well within striking distance of defeating this bill.  Here are the people who need to hear from you.

The four GOP gang members – McCain, Graham, Flake, Rubio – along with Ayotte, Heller, Collins, and Murkowski, are probably a lost cause.  However, there are also enough red state Democrats who are jittery about supporting this bill to deny Schumer 60 votes, and certainly a super-majority.  Yet, two insipid RINOs, Bob Corker and John Hoeven, who represent solid red states, are attempting to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  They are working tirelessly with Schumer to craft a phony compromise that will add some window dressing for border security after all of the illegals are granted amnesty.  They can potentially bring along with them a dozen more Republicans who badly want this bill.

Please call the following members:

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CBO’s Unicorn Cost Study on Amnesty

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

Repealing Obamacare will increase the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years.

That was a headline from a CBO report in May when Republicans voted on full repeal of Obamacare.  Somehow, when it comes to ascertaining the costs of wrongheaded policy, CBO wants us to engage in willing suspension of disbelief.  The most costly entitlement will actually reduce the deficit, they claim.  In Washington, up is down and down is up.

We are now seeing the same thing with the amnesty/immigration deform bill.  You need not be an actuary to understand that 11 million poor illegals and tens of millions of other poor legal immigrants and guest workers, along with their American-born children, will wind up receiving a lot more in benefits that they pay in taxes.  Yet, CBO will have you believe that this bill will actually reduce the deficit over 10 and 20 years by $197 billion and $700 billion respectively.  In fact, the only main costs in this bill are the border security provisions.

Well, if you take their estimate to its logical conclusion, we should double the number of illegal immigrants, thereby doubling the level of deficit reduction.  Also, countries like Mexico should be economic superpowers by now. It’s this sort of dyslexic bean counting that has led to $17 trillion in debt.

When determining whether a population would be a net contributor or a net recipient to the tax/benefit structure we have in this country, you have to understand that tax/benefit structure.  All conservatives agree that when the income level is relatively low, those individuals will be net recipients; hence, the progressive system that everyone on the right rails against.  Yet, somehow, when that simple fact is extrapolated to new immigrants, some of these people get disgruntled.

But CBO fails to factor in the degree of progressivity to our tax system even for the native population.  In 2011, CBO issued an analysis showing that our tax and government transfer system had become less redistributive since 1979.  At the time, I showed that, in fact, the share of income taxes paid by the top 1% grew from 19% to 36.7% while the share of the bottom 50% shrunk from 7% to 2.25%.  Meanwhile, government transfer payments have exploded since 1979.

But somehow CBO found that our system had become less redistributive since the growth of refundable tax credits and welfare programs.  With that in mind, it’s no enigma that they believe a low-income group of aliens will also be net contributors.

Here are some other points to consider:

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Open Borders Politicians Responsible for More Illegal Immigration

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

The real issue with the immigration debate is not a question of what to do with those illegals already here; it is a question of what to do with the next wave.,.and the next wave….and the next wave.

While everyone is focused on the past – what to do with those already here – and the future – whether the promises of more enforcement will ever materialize – nobody is focusing on the present.  In anticipation of a mass amnesty and perennial suspension of deportations, migrants from Central America are rushing to cross our borders.  Yes, these people all follow social media.  Here is a key finding from the New York Times:

Now the Rio Grande Valley has displaced the Tucson enforcement zone as the hot spot, with makeshift rafts crossing the river in increasing numbers, high-speed car chases occurring along rural roads and a growing number of dead bodies turning up on ranchers’ land, according to local officials. […]

But after nearly a decade of steady declines, the count has started to rise again over the past year, driven by the rise in the southern tip of Texas, where the numbers so far this fiscal year are up 55 percent. Since October, 94,305 individuals have been apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley alone, topping the count in Tucson for the first time since 1993.

Critics of the Senate legislation, including Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, point to the influx in the Rio Grande Valley enforcement zone as proof that the bill must explicitly mandate “full operational control” of the border within a decade before any immigrants who were once here illegally could be allowed to proceed toward citizenship.

Hence, when you begin telegraphing the message that as long as you can make it across the border or overstay your visa, we will never send you back, there will be an immediate influx of illegal immigrants.  That is why it makes no sense to begin any legalization before implementation of border and interior security.  Under these half-baked Republican compromise plans that will promise enforcement after RPI status is granted, all the new illegals who come during the ensuing years will be here to stay forever.  They must be afforded the reasonable opportunity to come forward and apply for status.  Any illegal can potentially be in the country prior to 2012; anyone could potentially pay the $500 fine; anyone could potentially be an Ag worker who is eligible for full legal status in 5 years.  And anyone could potentially be eligible for the Dream Act.  By the time to RPI process is complete, we will have several million more illegals living “in the shadows” and part of the American fabric, along with their anchor babies, for a number of years.

There are some analysts, including the incomparable Michael Barone, who think that we won’t experience a third wave of illegal immigration from Mexico because of their declining birthrates.  But that is nothing more than wishful thinking. First, according to a recent Pew survey, 35% of Mexicans would like to come here.  That’s 39 million people.  Moreover, these optimists are overlooking the recent influx of migrants from Central American countries.  Here is how the Times describes the recent rush across the border:

The surge in South Texas is driven mostly by immigrants originating not from Mexico but from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, officials said. The Mexican border city of Reynosa is the end of a railway that begins in southern Mexico, and many migrants ride the roofs of freight trains to reach the United States.

We’ve seen this bad movie before; we know how it will end.  In fact, we are already getting a sneak preview.

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Wasting the House Majority on Dumb Suspension Bills

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, News

As part of the GOP Pledge to America in 2010, they made the following observation regarding suspension votes during the Pelosi Congress (page 34):

The number of House legislative days devoted to action on noncontroversial and often insignificant “suspension” bills is up significantly in this Congress by comparison with the past several Congresses, wasting time and taxpayer resources.  Of the bills considered under the suspension procedure – requiring 2/3 vote for passage – so far during this Congress,
more than half were bills naming federal buildings, recognizing individuals or groups (like sports teams) for achievements, or supporting the designation of particular days, months, or weeks.

Someday I plan to tally up the number of suspension bills that were proposed over the past two and a half years, but there is no doubt that the number comes close or exceeds the level of wasted votes during the Pelosi years.  Some weeks, the majority of legislative days are wasted on these insipid issues, none of which represent good public policy or effective messaging against big government.

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Mike Simpson Opposes Enforcement of Hastert Rule, Supports Amnesty

Monday, June 17th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

There are RINOs and then there are RINOs.  Mike Simpson is the king of all Rinos.  He is probably the most progressive member from such a conservative district.

Now, Simpson is advocating that John Boehner pass bills with Democrat support:

Still, Simpson believes that Boehner intends to let the House “work its will” on the measures even if it means relying on Democratic votes to carry the majority of support for those bills.

“When you are Speaker, you aren’t just Republican Speaker, you are Speaker of the whole House and you need to do what’s best for the whole House sometimes that might mean a majority of Democrats and minority of Republicans that pass a bill,” Simpson said.

So why doesn’t Simpson just become a Democrat so he can officially vote for Pelosi, instead of working within our ranks to hand effective control over to her?

But there’s more: Simpson wants to pass an immigration bill so we can get to conference with the Senate and pass a mass amnesty bill:

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The Statue Quo is Eminently Better Than Bad Legislation

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner announced that he will bring the farm bill to the floor and personally vote for it.  This is a sharp departure from his previous statements railing against the Soviet-style subsidies and productions quotas for sugar and dairy farming.  Hence, he is caving on one of the few issues for which he has always shown intrepid conviction.

There’s a new platitude that is being propagated by the GOP establishment in defense of odious new legislation or reauthorization of existing bad policies.  They are asserting that passing big government legislation; that passing Democrat priorities is better than the status quo; that action is superior to inaction.  This is the most dangerous, defeatist attitude for a Republican to harbor, and conservatives must make it clear that, especially when in the minority, Republicans must stop bad legislation.  Period.

We’ve already seen this dynamic unfold with the immigration deform bill.  This bill will do to our immigration system and the rule of law what Obamacare is doing to our healthcare system.  Yet, instead of pursuing an aggressive conservative policy strategy on this issue, both the leaders in the Senate and House are saying that we must pass something, irrespective of the merits of the bill.  They are basically saying that another ‘amnesty first, promise of enforcement later’ is superior to doing nothing.  This logic is borderline insanity.

Now Boehner is pursuing the same line of thought with the farm bill.  He is going to bring the farm bill to the floor and call for a conference with the Senate because doing nothing is not an option:

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John Thune Wants to Attract More Republicans to the Amnesty Bill

Monday, June 10th, 2013 by 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).

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