Sunday, April 9, 2006

Why immigration reform failed in the Seante

Editors Note: The following appeared over at myDD. It contains one of the best rebuttals I’ve seen so far of the Republican talking points on the Senate’s failure to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package.

Boehner, Not Reid, Killed the Immigration Bill

by Jonathan Singer, Sun Apr 09, 2006
Reprinted from myDD

Yesterday I went to great lengths to debunk President Bush's claim that Democratic Leader Harry Reid was to blame for the failure of the Senate's immigration compromise, noting that it was the Democrats who stuck by the original agreement while Republicans attempted to back out by watering down the original language with amendments. One key player entirely overlooked in my post, and by the traditional media yesterday, was the United States House of Representatives.

(more below the fold)

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As prescribed by Article 1 of the Constitution, the legislative branch of the federal government is bicameral, with two separate chambers playing a role in the enactment of laws. While this is something that many Americans have known since they were just kids, it is a concept that is underattack by the current Republican leadership in Washington, with President Bush attempting to sign into law a bill passed only by the Senate (the House had narrowly approved of a similar, though fundamentally different, piece of legislation). Not withstanding recent actions by Republican leaders, the idea of bicameralism is inherent to the American democracy.

With this in mind, I couldn't figure out why the media bought into the meme that Congress was on the brink of passing immigration reform earlier this week (I even seem to recall an AP article bearing a headline to that effect). Make no mistake; regardless of claims that Senator Reid killed the immigration reform legislation, it is the inherent differences within the Republican Party that make immigration reform all but impossible. Just look at what John Boehner had to say on ABC's "This Week":

House of Representatives Majority Leader John Boehner on Sunday rejected efforts to establish a guest worker program in the United States, despite calls from President Bush to make provisions for millions of current illegal immigrants.


"You can't begin to talk about a guest worker bill until you secure the borders," he said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" program. Otherwise, he said, "We're going to have an endless parade of illegal immigrants here in our country."


Allowing illegal immigrants to stay and work "sounds too much like amnesty for most Americans," he said.

Given Boehner's current stance -- and indeed the stance of the Republican House of Representatives, which passed an extremely regressive anti-immigrant bill last session that would make providing services to undocumented immigrants a criminal activity -- why would anyone believe that they would sign on to a Senate bill that "sounds too much like amnesty"?

Even if Harry Reid buckled to Bill Frist's presidential ambitions and allowed some of the more regressive elements of the GOP caucus in the Senate to gut the bipartisan compromise, would Boehner and the House Republicans -- led in part by the rabidly anti-immigrant Tom Tancredo -- really sign off on the Senate bill, as bicameralism would require?

The Republican House of Representatives refused to pass the President's guest worker program in December, at a time when George W. Bush's approval rating was actually on the rise, if slightly, so I find it extremely difficult to fathom a situation in which they agree to his framework today, when he is politically radioactive. Consequently, the only individual or individuals to blame for the breakdown of the immigration reform package sought by President Bush are members of his own party -- the Do Nothing Republicans

1 comment:

JasonSpalding said...

Cheap labor at all costs? We have seen in France what happens.