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).
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 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.
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.
[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.
In June 2011, Obama announced that he would suspend our immigration laws and grant administrative amnesty to those who qualify for the DREAM Act – a bill that never passed Congress. This was just one of the many egregious steps taken by the administration to subvert the rule of law and threaten our sovereignty. Yet, unlike with the IRS scandal, Republicans were largely silent. Obama punched us in the stomach and challenged us to hit back, yet all we did was scamper away like a bunch of cowards.
The GOP insouciance towards Obama’s “deferred action” program is particularly jarring in the context of the debate over the Schumer/Rubio/Obama amnesty bill. The entire premise of the bill is predicated on overlooking how Obama has already dealt with his illegal amnesty. From ‘legalization before enforcement’ and major restrictions on future deportations to wide discretion granted to DHS, we don’t need a crystal ball to ascertain the results of the bill. Obama’s DACA program has served as a test run for the mass amnesty.
An astounding 99.5% of all those who applied for the amnesty were approved by the administration. Yup, obviously none of them said they planned to start a conservative organization when they filled out the application. Moreover, as ICE agent Chris Crane has repeatedly noted, it is virtually impossible for ICE to detain and deport anyone because almost any detainee could potentially be eligible for this illegal amnesty. So now we have millions of young impoverished illegals who are on a fast track to receiving benefits on behalf of their families. We have now raised the specter of anchor babies to include ‘anchor young adults.’ As long as you come here with at least one child under age, you are here to stay.
The idea that we will ever be able to deport anyone after this bill passes is simply absurd, in light of what we’re seeing from DACA. Almost anyone could potentially be eligible for the multiple eligibility status loopholes, and the bill forces all law enforcement to provide them with a reasonable opportunity to come forward. Even an administration that is committed to the rule of law would find it nearly impossible to resume deportations after the amnesty, much less an administration that has already promised never to enforce the law.
Meanwhile, in a bid to inveigle other GOP senators into supporting the bill, Rubio said that he plans to announce his own border security plan. But as we’ve seen from DACA, you can come up with any plan you’d like; it’s only Obama’s plan that counts. This has been, and always will be, an executive branch problem, not a legislative problem. It’s real simple: the only way any amnesty would ever work is if Obama begins to demonstrate enforcement of existing laws first. Everything else is just window dressing used to entice other Republicans into kicking Charlie Brown’s football.
The uncanny irony is that a federal district judge is prepared to vitiate Obama’s deferred action, yet Republicans won’t take yes for an answer. Aside for the few border hawks, none of them will even issue a press release making notice of this expected victory for the rule of law.
Folks, the McConnell charade of acting one way in public and another in private is getting old. He is up for reelection this cycle. It’s time to get rid of the moss-covered fossils in our party who don’t share our values. I just tossed this up at Red State.
It looks like Mitch McConnell’s pass from Chuck Schumer to publicly remain silent on the amnesty bill has expired.
While McConnell has come out of the witness protection program to attack the ‘low-hanging fruit’ IRS scandal with alacrity, he has remained silent on the most profound threat to our Republic – the Schumer immigration reform bill. How can the sitting GOP leader remain silent on a bill that will compound the mistakes he voted for in 1986 and create a permanent Democrat majority? How can the top Republican in the Senate remain insouciant toward the Obamacare-style discretion that is afforded to DHS in a way that will make future deportations almost impossible? How can a self-described conservative be indiffernet to a bill that will chart a pathway to welfare benefits for millions of low-skilled illegal and legal immigrants within just a few years?
Well, it’s quite simple. Chuck Schumer is the defacto GOP leader in the Senate. All he has to do is craft legislation, and Republicans will ask how many votes he needs.
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.
After 4 years of endless scandals sliding off Obama’s Teflon back, it appears his luck is finally coming to an end. Why would Republicans want to bail him out by bestowing him with an amnesty bill?
We all know that Obamacare was the crown jewel of Obama’s first term. With passage of that monstrosity, Obama effectively nationalized the largest sector of the economy and created incorrigible dependency for years to come. If there is one single piece of legislation that can be defined as the crown jewel of his second term, it’s the gang’s amnesty bill. What better way to leave office than to bequeath to his party a permanent governing majority engendered by mass amnesty and the doubling of our current record baseline of immigration? Unfortunately, Republicans are preparing to hand this gift to him on a silver platter, ironically, at a time when his entire presidency should be in peril.
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will pass the amnesty bill out to the floor. The fix is already in. They will get every Democrat plus Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, and perhaps Orrin Hatch, to vote for it. The bill will likely sail through the Senate in June. Only a few Republicans have voiced any degree of outrage at the bill and the way it was crafted. Moreover, the gang evidently had the blessing of Mitch McConnell. Sure, many of them will vote against the bill, but they are unlikely to filibuster the bill after all the enforcement amendments are voted down.
What about the “Tea Party-controlled House?
Last week, the House gang of 8, comprised of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and John Carter (R-Texas), reached “an agreement in principle.” While they continue to keep the details secret, media reports indicate that their proposal will closely track the ‘legalization now, enforcement later’ framework of the Senate bill. In order to ameliorate this amnesty pig and make it more palatable to a Republican body, they are just wrangling over which shiny objects to place in the bill, such as delaying citizenship for an extra two years ( a red herring in itself because citizenship will never be delayed that long). The gang seems to have the full support of Boehner, who has declined to utter one negative word about the current proposal. He also has Paul Ryan engaging in an indefatigable gang of 2 with Gutierrez to pass amnesty now.
That leaves us with the House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), as the only body with the power to stop this madness and launch a counteroffensive based on conservative principles. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Senate amnesty bill. This is their moment to shine. Many of us off the Hill have been exposing the dozens of egregious provisions in the bill; now it’s time for the elected conservatives to have their voices heard.
Concurrently, they must push for comprehensive enforcement first. Just last week, we heard of yet another person who was let in legally from a high risk region and is now engaging in terror activities. They should look at restoring the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which required those visa recipients from countries that represent a security risk to register with an ICE office and report regularly about their plans. In light of Obama’s DHS approving 99.5% of all applicants for his illegal “DACA” administrative amnesty, I don’t think anyone has confidence in our willingness to weed out bad actors.
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: