If they still object to the Border Security set up with this amendment, their rationale for opposing immigration reform “is for some other reason,” says Senator John McCain.
This after two Republican Senators from Tennessee and North Dakota offered a huge amendment to the immigration reform bill costing billions of dollars. For what? To man the border with 20,000 more Border Patrol agents and billions more in technical support and toys.
The entire political future of the United States and our two party system is on [John Boehner's] shoulders. Will he step up and save the two party system and the Republican Party?
- Raoul Lowery Contreras
Realistically, this “surge” might not even be necessary when the bill’s massive guest worker permit is implemented in agriculture and other basic industries like hospitality and construction. Ditto E-Verify.
It is no surprise to this writer that the Senate voted 67 to 27 to proceed to a final vote without filibuster of the 1200 page immigration reform bill, SB 744. The surprise is that it took adding $30 billion in spending to attract a solid block of Republican votes. So said former Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs on Meet the Press.
Now, even as various House of Representative committees are working up individual bills on segments of immigration reform, there are dire political warnings that if an immigration reform bill doesn’t make it to the President’s desk for signature with a heavy Republican stamp of approval on it, the Republican Party will never win another national election.
An interesting view of what faces Republicans is a comment made by veteran GOP presidential campaign guru, Mike Murphy, that he was a “fanatic on the issue of immigration reform” with a Republican brand on it because, he said, he is “tired of watching Democratic Presidential inaugurations.”
The small loud cabal of Senate Republicans that bad-mouthed the entire reform effort did not sway the Senate but the question is, how many in the House have they swayed.
Of 435 members 218 House votes are necessary to pass any bill. Thus, numerically there are three ways a House vote can go on immigration:
1. John Boehner and his leadership must convince, force or deal with 110 or more GOP members to vote for it thus living up to the “Hastert Rule” of not bringing a bill to a vote unless a majority of GOP House members are in support.
2. Boehner can count on a Democratic bloc of 190 to support reform and turn the House loose to vote conscience which would then produce a minimum of 29 Republican votes (probably close to a hundred creating a solid bi-partisan yes vote) to join the Democratic bloc in passing reform.
3. Assuming the bill then passes, Boehner and Nancy Pelosi would choose a Conference Committee to meet with a Senate Conference Committee to structure an acceptable compromise. That compromise would then go back to both houses for approval or defeat.
It is at this stage that Boehner could invoke the Hastert Rule without, I think, much of a problem. The result would be presented to the president for his signature.
How to get there is the problem, much of which seems to have been overcome by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) when they came up with the “Border Surge” as it has been labeled.
Senator McCain is right, with these added resources of billions for Border Security, how can anyone be opposed to immigration reform?
The complaints will now be that the government will not enforce the new law as it has not enforced existing laws. That, of course, is not true. Has the government intercepted hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers and sent them back? Yes, it has. Has the government arrested and deported hundreds of thousands of criminals and others under President Obama? Yes. Thus, that argument is speculative and also specious, based on five years of heavy enforcement experience.
In these precincts, the “Border Surge” must be strengthened with a competent E-Verify system that all workers will have to pass and adequate agriculture work permits and permits for hospitality and construction industries.
The Congressional Budget Office’s generally positive report on the Senate bill suggests some problems in unemployment and static wages for today’s underclass of school drop-out workers, but that is why we have a minimum wage. States can and do raise minimums. As for unemployment, immigrants have little to do with that, as studies have shown.
Balancing out these negatives are economic growth, mushrooming productivity and a growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that will create more jobs, more prosperity and more tax revenue which in turn will cut projected deficits by almost a trillion dollars in two decades.
One man is the key to this happening.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), number two in presidential succession, is that man. The entire political future of the United States and our two party system is on his shoulders. Will he step up and save the two party system and the Republican Party?
I think he will.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant. He was formerly with the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.