Tea-Publicans against democracy threaten comprehensive immigration reform

Posted  by AzBlueMeanie:

The TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, the "Worst. Speaker. Ever.," is signaling to the Tea Party terrorists holding him hostage that he will not allow the immigration reform bill to come to a vote in the House unless "a majority of the majority," i.e., the infamous Hastert Rule, is met.

Why do Tea-Publicans hate democracy? The Hastert Rule is a GOP Caucus rule that operates much like the hated cloture rule (filibuster) in the Senate, which allows a tyranny of a minority to thwart the will of the majority in that chamber. It is undemocratic and an abuse of process. Boehner: No immigration bill without most of GOP support:

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) privately reiterated to
colleagues Tuesday that the House will not vote on an immigration reform
package that doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans.

The comments came as some of the most conservative GOP lawmakers and well-financed outside conservative groups are seeking to change internal House GOP rules that would block legislation from the House floor that does not have “majority-of-the-majority” support.

On immigration, Boehner said that Republicans enjoy “plenty
of leverage” on the issue and will not need to rely on Democratic votes
to pass a bill.

“I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that will violate
the principles of our majority and divide our conference,” Boehner
said, according to the GOP aides. “One of our principles is border
security. I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that the
people in this room do not believe secures our borders. It’s not gonna
happen.”

The assurances made behind closed doors Tuesday differ slightly from
public comments Boehner made last week, when he told reporters that he
didn’t intend to hold a vote on an immigration bill “that violates what I
and what my members of my party, what our principles are” and that he
expected to continue earning “strong bipartisan majorities” for bills
brought to the floor.

Boehner’s apparent sharpened resolve comes at a critical moment in
the months-long attempts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, as the Senate is poised to begin voting on amendments
to its comprehensive bipartisan proposal Tuesday and bipartisan talks
in the House are at a stalemate over several lingering issues of
concerns.

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee began debating a immigration
proposal Tuesday that is strongly opposed by congressional Democrats
and immigrant rights advocates[.]

* * *

The Republican-backed proposal under consideration would give state
and local law enforcement authorities more power to arrest and charge
immigrants for overstaying visas or entering the U.S. illegally.

The SAFE Act (Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act) also would make
it a federal misdemeanor to be “unlawfully present” in the U.S. and
would permit state and local governments to draft their own immigration
laws, as long as they are consistent with federal statutes. Finally,
local law enforcement agencies would be eligible for new federal grants
to enforce the immigration laws.

[A byproduct of the "meth lab of democracy" in Arizona, and anti-immigrant lawyer Kris Kobach, now Secretary of State in Kansas.]

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) described the plan as “a game-changing piece of
legislation” that will bolster attempts to track illegal immigrants far
beyond the borders.

* * *

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) described the proposal as “extreme and heinous,” saying
it would jeopardize public safety by making local police officers de
facto immigration agents and “force them to make public safety a distant
second priority.” Worse, Conyers said, the changes would deter crime
victims and eyewitnesses from reporting crimes or providing assistance
to local police if they fear potential deportation.

The panel is scheduled to begin debating the immigration proposal
Tuesday with a final vote expected on Wednesday, according to aides.

Greg Sargent believes that John Boehner is bluffing:

There’s some interesting sleight of hand here. Note that Boehner
seems more focused on enforcement and border security than on
citizenship. The Speaker is claiming that if a majority of House
Republicans thinks the emerging proposal isn’t tough enough on border
security, then the House won’t vote on it. But the real Rubicon House
Republicans must cross is the path to citizenship. What happens
if a majority of House Republicans can’t support the path to
citizenship, no matter how tough the border security elements are made?
In that scenario, if Boehner holds to his vow, the House wouldn’t vote
on anything that includes citizenship, right? And that scenario very
well may come to pass.

Someone needs to ask the Speaker: If a majority of House Republicans
can’t accept a path to citizenship, will you really not allow a House
vote on any emerging proposal that contains one?

There are two apparent endgames here. Either the House ends up not
passing anything. In that case Boehner will have to decide whether to
allow the House to vote on the Senate bill — including a path to
citizenship. He claims he won’t allow it if a majority of Republicans
opposes it. But the pressure on him to allow a vote will be very
intense, from powerful GOP stakeholders such as the business community
and wide swaths of the consulting/strategist establishment.

Or, alternatively, the House passes something and we go to
conference. What happens if whatever emerges from conference contains a
path to citizenship, and a majority of House Republicans don’t support
it? Asked today by reporters what would happen then, Boehner’s response contained a key tell:

Asked if he would require majority Republican support on a
bill that came out of  a formal negotiation with the senate, Boehner
said “we’ll see when we get  there.”

In other words, Boehner would not rule out a vote that violates the supposed “Hastert Rule.”

I’m with Jonathan Bernstein: This all turns on whether enough Republicans privately
want comprehensive reform to pass for the good of the party, even if
they are not prepared to vote for it. If so, Boehner will let it go to
the floor. Even if it must pass with mostly Dems. Don’t buy all the
tough talk. Boehner himself doesn’t know how this is going to end.

Steve Benen is less confident. Boehner posture weakens prospects for immigration reform:

After listening to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talk to the media
this morning, it's hard to be optimistic about the fate of
comprehensive immigration reform. Earlier, I suggested the bipartisan Senate bill still had a real shot, but if Boehner sticks to his current posture, the odds of success are poor.

* * *

To put it mildly, this is not what reform proponents wanted to hear.
Indeed, Boehner has generally gone out of his way to avoid making
statements like these, leaving himself more wiggle room as the strategy
comes together.

As we discussed
this morning, the fate of the legislation is largely in Boehner's hands
— if the Speaker is prepared to ignore the so-called "Hastert Rule,"
and rely on Democratic votes to pass the Senate version, then
immigration reform would likely prevail. If, however, the Speaker
cowered in the face of right-wing threats, and decided to let his members lead him rather than the other way around, then the reform effort would be in deep trouble.

* * *

The hope has been that Boehner, perhaps capable of some modicum of
leadership, would recognize the best interests of his party, listen to
business interests that help guide GOP priorities, and bring the Senate
version to the House floor for a vote. This morning, the Speaker plainly
conceded he doesn't "see any way" of that happening.

In a true democracy, there are enough Democrats and enlightened Republicans to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But the Tea Party terrorists holding the GOP leadership — and the country — hostage will not allow it. It is a tyranny of a minority.

UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), a virulent anti-immigrant nativist, requested that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score the Senate "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill, apparently believing his own nativist rhetoric that immigration will cost money. Doh! CBO estimates Senate immigration bill cuts deficit by $197 billion

The Senate immigration bill would reduce deficits by $197 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill would increase spending by $262 billion between 2014 and
2023, but would increase revenue by $459 billion, according to the
non-partisan office.

In the next decade, it would reduce the deficit by $700 billion, CBO said.

The CBO score could give the bill a significant boost as the Senate tries to clear it before the July 4 recess.

Comments are closed.