A common ploy in parliamentarian scheming is for leaders to hand out hall passes for vulnerable members to vote against leadership’s proposal, knowing that it has the votes to pass anyway. The rationale is that those members should be able to hoodwink their constituents without compromising passage of the bill. This dynamic usually plays out with the leadership and rank-and-file of the same party, but during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup, it was Chuck Schumer who was handing out hall passes to Republicans.
Throughout the past week of marking up the amnesty bill, the Republican gang members on the committee – Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham – were voting together with the Democrats against amendments that would strengthen the enforcement mechanisms to trigger any amnesty. However, on some of the more embarrassing amendments, the two Republicans have been voting the right way. After all, Democrats have enough votes to defeat those amendments without their participation, so why make them look bad with the rubes in the GOP base? We long suspected collaboration between the Democrats and these members, but today Chuck Schumer gave away the secret.
Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been a statesman on this issue, offered an amendment to bar illegals from receiving refundable tax credits during the “RPI” amnesty status. Remember, that advocates of the gang’s bill are incessantly denying the fact that these people will receive benefits during the first 10 years of the amnesty. Well, every Democrat affirmed what we already know by voting to retain those benefits. Except, in this case, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake voted with Sessions and the Republicans. If you watch the roll call (at around the 3:05 mark), you can hear Chuck Schumer asking an aid “do our Republicans have a pass on this one?” The aid says, “yes.”
Hmm…later in the day, Chuck Grassley offered an amendment to bar gang members from receiving amnesty. This amendment was also defeated along a party-line vote…without the help of Flake and Graham. I guess that was embarrassing enough for them to warrant a hall pass from Schumer. Same goes for Cornyn’s amendment which would bar amnesty for criminal aliens , including domestic abusers, child abusers, and drunk drivers, all of whom could potentially get legal status under the Senate bill.
Although the current amnesty bill was drafted behind closed doors, it’s not like it didn’t receive input from outside groups. In fact, every special interest group under the sun – from big business and big labor to big ethnic, big law, and big religion – had their say in the bill. The one group that was ignored (aside from We the People) was the immigration enforcement officers.
Over the past few years, Chris Crane, the president of the ICE union, has done yeoman’s work exposing how the Obama administration hampers efforts of his fellow officers in upholding the laws on the books. Well, it appears that his group is not alone. A 12,000-person union representing the USCIS has come out with a scathing criticism of the Senate gang’s bill:
Republican politicians like Mitch McConnell will talk incessantly about the profligate spending in Washington when they are pandering to their primary voters. But they will seldom tell you which functions of government should be devolved to the states, privatized, or eliminated altogether.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $12.2 billion water bill to fund many water-related projects that can and should be under the responsibility of state governments or private enterprise. Bills like this are not flashy or exciting to report on, but they embody our big government problem. If we are going to continue to reauthorize major federal projects without at least implementing some modest reforms to devolve responsibility to the states, we will never limit government.
Over the years, lawmakers have ill-advisedly folded local or private-sector activities (such as beach replenishment, hydropower generation, flood control, and recreation facility construction and management) into the corps’s mission. Distracted by parochial interests and the allure of federal funds for pet projects, lawmakers are thus discouraged from setting rigorous cost-benefit analyses as a requirement. If the private sector or local citizens were paying for projects in full, they would be incentivized to make wise investment and construction decisions to control costs.
Yet S. 601, for example, continues paying for the Corps’s 4,200-plus recreation areas. It also extends the life of beach nourishment projects by 15 years—which consist of pumping sand and sediment onto shorelines—even though they already last for 50 years. Such misguided federal spending on a local priority amounts to subsidizing wealthy owners of beachfront property.
The federal government is too vast an enterprise to manage David Axelrod explained this morning on MSNBC in his defense of President Obama’s scandal ridden administration. Axelrod wants to dismiss as naive the belief that the American people should expect the Executive branch to operate free of corruption, incompetence, and felonious behavior.
By Mr. Axelrod’s reckoning Americans have to take a more mature view of what happened last September 11th in Libya. We will have to understand that when the Commander-In-Chief gives an order that all necessary measures be taken to protect the lives of American personnel under attack in Benghazi the vastness of the military complex makes that order hard to interpret by the time it reaches the ground in Libya. It came across the wire as “stand down”. It was no one’s fault. Move along.
According to Mr. Axelrod, we will have to live with the inertia that comes with our too large to control government. Well, those of us still alive will have to live with it. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith are eternally free from having to contend with the garbled chain of command that comes with big government.
We can be sure, according to Mr. Axelrod, that last spring when the Department of Justice was busy using secret subpoenas to pry into the phone records of journalists, President Obama knew nothing about it. The gargantuan size of federal agencies guarantees the President has no way of checking the powers of his Cabinet secretaries.
As to other malignant government action in the news — the IRS harassment of President Obama’s political opponents — President Obama had no knowledge such goonery was being practiced and he is furious about the rogue elements on the loose in the IRS. We know this because President Obama tells us it is so and we can trust him to tell us the truth even though we can’t trust the rest of his administration.
In David Axelrod’s alternative version of Too Big To Fail the federal government has become So Big It Can Only Fail but the malevolent force of unchecked state power is an issue that overrides Mr. Axelrod’s silly and juvenile explanation.
A huge chunk of ground was surrendered by Mr. Axelrod this morning as he tried to defend the notion that an omnicompetent government can be headed by an incognizant executive. Even low information voters can see the danger in that reasoning.
It’s not clear the GOP does.
A party truly energized around the principle of federalism — the notion that the best government is the government closest to the people that hold it accountable — could change the putrid political dynamic of looking to the feds to set every broken bone or educate every listless child in America. If the opposition party in D.C. wasn’t so engaged in erasing our borders and lowering the value of citizenship it might notice it has the biggest opening it has had in three decades to make the case for limited government.
Someone get ahold of Marco Rubio in between takes at the television studio. Instead of cutting dishonest ads for amnesty he should be using his considerable charm to advance the cause of conservatism, his party and the American Republic. David Axelrod just handed him the script.
We’ve been entreated to endless platitudes and bromides over the past few months about the virtues of immigration. But like most other positive things in life, everything must be applied in moderation. Too much of anything is no good. This is especially true with regards to immigration.
One question that the politicians in Washington refuse to answer is how much immigration is too much. They seem to have no understanding of the current baseline and historical trends of immigration. Over the past few decades, and particularly over the past 15 years, we have let in over 1 million new legal immigrants every year. That is more than at any other time in our history, including the great wave of immigration at the turn of the 20th century.
And speaking of the great wave of immigration, there are 4 fundamental differences between then and now.
1) We had no welfare state over 100 years ago. As such, we could let in many immigrants with the understanding that they would have to rely on rugged individualism.
2) We had no multicultural society and lobby for bilingual education. Now we have it in spades.
3) The country was still relatively new and filling up. While I don’t believe we are overpopulated, I don’t think we specifically need to fill up the country. At this point, immigration should be more about targeting those who best benefit the country than simply padding our numbers.
4) Most importantly, after this historic wave of immigration, Congress shut off immigration for almost 4 decades. In 1924, President Coolidge signed the law that took our annual immigration flow from 400,000-800,000 down to 50,000-200,000 for many years. Now, after years’ worth of 1 million+ annual flows of immigration, instead of implementing a slowdown (not a shutoff) so that we can assimilate those already here, the politicians want to double our record baseline.
With farm incomes on the rise in recent years, what is Big Ag supposed to do? How can they justify more subsidies? Well, for one thing, they can spend more time demanding an endless flow of cheap labor to which they can pay below market wages. But that would require the passage of an amnesty bill, something that many House members are not excited to do. So now they are pushing a new farm bill, which is being sold as legislation that cuts the deficit and eliminates farm subsidies. The reality is that this is nothing but a rope-a-dope ploy to expand government intervention and other forms of subsidies.
After extending the 2008 farm bill for an additional year last September, both the Senate and House agriculture committees are introducing new versions of the ‘5-year farm bill.’ You might be wondering why we need a farm bill. What is this? Stalin’s 5-year plan? Well, after decades’ worth of direct subsidies, crop insurance, conservation subsidies, marketing loans, disaster aid, trade barriers, commodity price supports, and production controls, our agriculture system is sort of reminiscent of the Soviet Union.
All conservatives and libertarians agree that government should not set wage requirements on private enterprise. That would violate the foundation of a free market economy. But should industries and special interest groups get to use the power of government to tilt our immigration system in a way that will actively depress wages? Is that free market doctrine?
I’ve been looking to find someone to come out to my house and do an assortment of outdoor work on gutters, downspouts, and siding. I can do most of the work myself, but some of the repairs need to be done in precarious positions that would require me to place a ladder on steep ground. The problem is that nobody will come out for a half days’ work for less than a few hundred dollars. In light of this “labor shortage” I plan to petition the government to flood the country with poor people from rough areas in the world. They will do any job for 10 bucks. Why shouldn’t we solve the “labor shortage” in this manner?
The free market is dictated by the ‘natural order of things.’ Obviously, the natural order of things as it relates to our immigration policy is not so easy to define. But it would be safe to say that for special interests to demand that we double our already record levels of immigration – to the detriment of the country at large and patriotic assimilation – is a manifestation of an anti-free market intervention into the natural order of things. No country will naturally implement an immigration system that makes assimilation impossible and burdens the broader tax base with too many low-wage earners in too short a period of time.
Undoubtedly, there might be a need for some guest workers in specific industries to replace, not augment, low-skilled immigration. But the assertion that there is a widespread labor shortage is greatly exaggerated by those who desire to use our immigration system to artificially depress wages. That is just as anti-free-market as using government to artificially inflate wages.
Fears of a potential farm labor shortage have caused San Joaquin Valley growers to boost wages to as much as $10 an hour this year to attract and keep workers for the harvest season.
With the farm-labor pool already tight and crops ready to be picked, growers are scrambling to secure their supply of workers.
“It is getting very competitive out there and employers are having to offer incentives to find the labor they need,” said Oscar Ramos, a grape farmer and Kingsburg-based farm-labor contractor. “And one of those incentives is higher wages.”
Farmers and agriculture industry leaders say wages have risen $1 to a $1.50 an hour this year compared to last year, or as much as 12%. Among Valley farmers, hourly wages are hovering between $9 and $10 an hour, which is higher than California’s minimum wage of $8.
Wages could go even higher. In September 2012, the average hourly earnings for San Joaquin Valley farm workers rose to $12.09 during the peak of the harvest season.
Welcome to 1984. The government that is supposed to govern by the consent of the people is now attacking those who seek to preserve the Constitution. Even as a number of non-profit organizations that aid and abet illegal aliens or Islamic terrorists are able to operate without any fear of investigation, we now know that tea party patriot organizations have been singled out for audits by high level officials at the IRS.
On Friday, it was all about “low-level employees” and was not “politically motivated.” It must have been a random glitch in the system that forced these officials to target limited government educational groups. Now the AP is reporting that this witch hunt was approved at the highest levels and was going on for 2 years:
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week. The AP obtained part of the draft report, which has been shared with congressional aides.
Among the other revelations, on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS’ Rulings and Agreements office “held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”
On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.
During an election year, it’s hard to imagine a directive like this not coming straight from the White House. Evidently, the audits were so ubiquitous that a number of tea party organizations approached Mark Levin, President of Landmark Legal Foundation, complaining of harassment from the IRS. Mark Levin then wrote a letter to the Treasury Inspector General last March demanding an investigation into improper inquiries. These improper inquiries included demands from the IRS that these organizations divulge their political positions on any given policy issue, list all of their key members and family members, and explain their relationships with media outlets.
Last evening, I was on with Mark Levin discussing the latest developments with the gang of 8 amnesty bill. We tackle some important issues related to hypocritical voting records as it relates to border security. You can listen to the audio by clicking here and selecting the May 9th show. I come on in the second half-hour of the show.
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began its markup of the gang of 8 immigration deform bill (s.744). The striking thing about the markup is that any casual observer would think we were living in 1965 or 1986, when there was either relatively low legal immigration or no failed amnesty to look back upon. To most of the senators sitting around the table, the border is more secure than ever (despite the sharp rise in crossings), our record levels of immigration don’t exist, and there is no reason to implement the enforcement before the legalization.
The first vote was on the Schumer manager’s amendment, which is a substitute making technical changes to the bill. This ostensibly is the bill. Yet 4 Republicans – Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Orrin Hatch – joined all the Democrats in supporting it. I’m not sure why someone who ultimately opposes this bill would vote for that. Would they have voted for the defacto Obamacare bill in the form of a substitute? Either way, I overheard Chuck Schumer celebrating the votes of Hatch and Cornyn, noting that it was “a good sign.” If Cornyn and Hatch believe that not to be true, they ought to clarify their position.
Next, Senator Grassley proposed a commonsense amendment to delay all legalization until the enforcement measures are implemented. Dianne Feinstein said, “I have no doubt as to this nation’s commitment to enforce this border,” asserting that the border is more secure than ever! Jeff Flake argued that we shouldn’t delay amnesty for security. I wish he had said that during his primary in 2012. Schumer said that such a measure would delay amnesty forever. He’s probably right. These guys have no intention of ever enforcing the law, so it probably would never take place. Every Democrat plus Graham and Flake voted against the amendment.
Later in the markup, Senator Lee proposed a similar amendment, granting Congress the authority to pass the security measures with a simple majority. It also requires Congress to certify that the measures have been sufficiently implemented before any legalization is offered. Lindsey Graham even admitted that the border commission “is not a trigger.” Once again, Flake and Graham voted no with the Democrats.
In an effort to show how open they are to changes, they agreed beforehand to adopt a Grassley amendment (by voice vote) to audit the money given to private organizations. So they’ll audit the money the give to La Raza.
[- The Senate adopted an amendment from Dick Blumenthal that would grant the Attorney General discretion to waive the requirement that states be reimbursed for costs of detaining illegal aliens when there is an allegation of impropriety on the part of local police. You can guarantee this administration would use that "discretion" liberally.
- The Cruz amendment, which would have made a biometric US-Visit and the border fence as a precondition to legalization, was defeated. Orrin Hatch joined Flake and Graham in opposing it. Once again, Chuck Schumer could be heard saying "you heard that?" Good going, Orrin.
- They just adopted another amendment by Senator Hirono to force border agents to search out family members from those detained within "practicable" time. Yet another massive burden on border agents. The amendment passed along party lines.
- Sessions proposed an amendment to complete the 2006 double-layered fence. Every Democrat voted no plus Gramm and Flake. This bill passed in 2006 by 80-19. At the time, Schumer, Feinstein, and Graham voted for it. Jeff Flake supported it in the House. The reason they oppose it is because this is something that would actually work, but unlike in 2006, it would be used as accountability to hold up the amnesty. What a bunch of frauds.]
It’s becoming clear that Democrats will ram this though with the help of the Republican gang members who vote down all of the enforcement amendments. They will do the same thing on the floor. Marco Rubio has already made it clear that the triggers need to be strengthened. The Democrats (and Flake/Graham/McCain) have made it clear that they will not allow any structural amendments to pass. The writing is on the wall. This thing will pass if it is not blocked from the floor now.
Rubio entered the negotiations in good faith trying to come out with a somewhat decent product. Mitch McConnell tapped him to join that gang. It’s time for Rubio and McConnell to get off the fence and publicly oppose this bill. They must demand #enforcementfirst.