And already, we're seeing shades of 1998 emerge as 21st Century Know Nothings lick their chops to "IMPEACH!!!" President
Yesterday, we wondered aloud whether the latest Beltway distractions du jour will help or harm the latest push on Capitol Hill to do something on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). The more we know about "Scandal-mania", the less it seems like anything but a very thinly veiled political vendetta. So does this mean the Washington Glitterati will finally give it up and attempt some kind of thoughtful governing?
Not so fast. House & Senate Republicans are still demanding more hearings on the latest & greatest distractions du jour. In addition, they're also demanding yet another opportunity to waste Congress' time and taxpayer's money with yet another Obamacare repeal vote. And now, a leading Senate Gang of 8 Republican may actually be sabotaging his own bill by signaling acceptance to unfriendly amendments meant to derail the nascent CIR grand bargain.
Democrats say Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is overplaying his hand on immigration reform and warn he could kill the bill if he tries to steer it to the right.
The angst among prominent Democrats is a sign that immigration reform has hit a rough patch and the first indication of cracks in the Senate’s Gang of Eight.
Rubio caught fellow members of the Senate’s gang off guard Tuesday when he voiced support for an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the bill’s most outspoken opponent, to dramatically strengthen the system for tracking entry and exit visas. The Sessions measure was defeated by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Rubio does not sit on the panel.
“He needs this bill to succeed as much as Democrats do. If this bill goes down, he goes down with it,” warned a senior Democratic aide. “Rubio is overplaying his hand if he thinks we’ll go along with anything.”
Democrats found Rubio’s support for the proposal egregious because Sessions is an avowed opponent of the bipartisan measure. The amendment would have required the implementation of a system to track biometric data, which Democratic senators on the Gang of Eight say could add as much as $25 billion to the bill’s price tag.
I've been trying hard to remain optimistic about the future of CIR in this Congress. But at this point, it's becoming incredibly difficult to remain so. We've already been detailing the growing list of excuses various House & Senate Republicans are using to oppose the Gang of 8 CIR bill. And now, Senator Marco Rubio is rushing to accept poison pills to his own bill... And do so just as the rest of his party is fixated on overblown & overhyped "OBAMA SCANDALZZZ!!!"
And then, there's this. For four months, we've been awaiting an answer from Senator Dean Heller (R-46%) on where he stands on the Gang of 8 bill. He's still refused to give a direct answer. And now, immigrant rights activists are having no more of it. They're demanding an answer.
You have to love the first of the five reasons a group of activists listed today to explain why Sen. Dean Heller should support immigration reform:
"The number of Latino and Asian voters is growing rapidly in Nevada."
I see they get right to the policy, eh? [...]
The other four reasons given for Heller to do what he likley will do anyhow:
"Latinos and Asian-Americans in Nevada care deeply about immigration reform."
"Nevada has the most to gain from immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants."
"Nevadans across the political spectrum support reform with a path to citizenship."
"Senate Republicans who oppose immigration reform are among the party’s most extreme members – a position that won’t fly in Nevada."
Yes, this is the sledgehammer approach, in case you didn't pick up on it. And these are all things that I am sure Heller did not know, too.
Of course, Ralston viewed this sarcastically. Because of course, Senator Heller is now so "post-partisan"... Except that he truly is not. Gun safety advocates experienced firsthand Senator Heller rushing to the 21st Century Know Nothings' side when push came to shove on a policy sporting 86% (??!!) public support.
Senator Heller has yet to declare his position on the Gang of 8 CIR bill. But of course, his Twitter feed is overflowing in "OBAMA SCANDAL!!!" nonsense. Coincidence? I think not. How easy would it be to bury the unraveling of the Republican Party's attempt to