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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Another Schumer Republican Who Lied to Get Elected

Sunday, June 9th, 2013 by 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.

The Latest on the Farm Bill

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 by 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.

36 Republicans Side With Big Labor on Davis-Bacon

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by 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:

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