Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Excusas, Excusas...

This spring, we've been keeping close tabs on Congress to see what happens on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). We've seen a budding bipartisan consensus develop on this issue. Yet at the same time, we've also seen a growing "tea party" campaign to kill the bill.

Long story short: It's complicated. Fortunately, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Courage) and community organizer superstar Astrid Silva went on "Ralston Reports" to sort it out.

They will both be part of today's May Day rally in Downtown Las Vegas, along with Senator Harry Reid (D-Searchlight, B****) himself. So far, hopes have been high for CIR. But again, the G-O-TEA is quickly causing problems.

But in Washington, uncertainty hangs over the immigration debate. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who helped craft a bipartisan bill on comprehensive reform, said the Gang of Eight proposal "probably can't pass the House." Appearing on a conservative radio show, the senator added that his bill "will have to be adjusted," which may come as a surprise to some of his colleagues, who've been cautiously optimistic about the legislation's chances.

Complicating matters further, Roll Call reports that a House working group tackling immigration policy "is mulling a proposal that involves 'self-deportation' as part of a strategy to make a comprehensive overhaul acceptable to conservatives." [...]

By all accounts, House Republicans hope to win the immigration debate by stretching it out as long as possible. If the Senate passes a comprehensive, bipartisan bill, the lower chamber won't just kill it immediately, but rather, will prolong the process. GOP officials think they can keep this going for months -- holding a series of hearings, sending it to a variety of committees, considering elements of the proposal piecemeal, etc.

But party leaders are acutely aware of the dangers of delays -- the more time elapses, the more Republican lawmakers and activists are able to say offensive things that defeats the purpose of the underlying work.

This is not speculative; we already have ample evidence. One House Republican recently argued that al Qaeda is training its members to go to Mexico, immigrate to the U.S., and "act like Hispanic [sic] when they are radical Islamists." Another House Republican recently used the word "wetback," and had no idea why anyone would consider his choice of words problematic.

No, really. They're going there. And on top of that, they've found a new objection. And of course, it involves "TEH GAYZZZ!!!!!!111111!!!!!!!1111111!"

Oh, joy.

Sen. Jeff Flake [R-Arizona] — a Republican member ofthe Gang of Eight who also is on the Judiciary Committee — put the issue front and centerin a statement provided to BuzzFeed. "There's a reason that thislanguage wasn't included in the Gang of Eight's bill — it's a deal breaker for most Republicans. Finding consensus on immigration legislation is tough enough without opening the bill up to social issues," Flake said in the statement.

Ifthe provision ends up being added into the bill, Republicans could be given an attempt to remove the provision on the floor, but it almost definitely would fail. At that point, the question would be whether Senate Republicans otherwise inclined to vote for the bill would be willing to give up those political gains in order to eliminate the potential for a gay-rights gain in the immigration reform bill.

Even if included in the Senate bill, the measure likely would not find its way into any House version ofimmigration reform, which would either lead to a conference committee ora situation similar to that faced by the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, when House Republicans balked at a more inclusive Senate version in the last session of Congress but relented and passed the Senate version earlier this year.

But [Senator Richard] Blumenthal [D-Connecticut] dismissed that notion that the same-sex provisions could end up being a deal breaker. "There's no justification for that result. My hope is that Republicans who may be talking about this provision being a deal breaker will reconsider," Blumenthal said.

Various Republicans are now huffing and puffing over Senator Patrick Leahy's (D-Vermont) decision to introduce the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) as an amendment to the Gang of 8 CIR bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Why put TEH GAYZZZ in our immigration bill?! Ewww, gay cooties!!!"

Never mind that a Republican former Member of Congress has pleaded for UAFA's inclusion in CIR legislation. And never mind that Senator Leahy already has a Republican co-sponsor in Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)! No, because a few other Senate Republicans catch the vapors whenever the words "gay", "lesbian", "transgender", and/or "bisexual" are uttered, entire families must suffer continued unnecessary hardship. Oh yes, this makes plenty of sense. (/snark)

Let's face it: Several Republicans who had been showing openness to CIR are now looking for excuses to join the "tea party" "KILL THE BILL!!!" campaign. So they're talking about "TER'RIS!" And they're screaming over "TEH GAYZZZ!!!" And they'll probably soon nitpick over the cost... Despite the fact that their border security demands are the reason for the very costs of the bill!

I've said this before. And I'll say it again now. Watch Senator Dean Heller (R-46%). Watch him very closely. As goes Heller, likely so goes the fate of CIR this Congress. Will he (again) find an excuse to join the "tea party"? Or will he finally do the right thing?

No comments:

Post a Comment