WASHINGTON -- In a move that could sound the death knell for immigration-reform legislation in Congress this year, House Republican leaders said Tuesday they plan to hold numerous hearings on the issue this summer and only then start talks with the Senate that might lead to a final bill.
The delay raises the likelihood that Congress will end the year without passing major immigration legislation that President Bush has supported. That would be a signal defeat for the president, who has urged Congress to approve comprehensive legislation along the lines of the Senate-passed bill, which included a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. and the creation of a guest-worker program.
A defeat for Bush on immigration would be a great victory for the American people.
House leaders insisted Tuesday that they still hope to negotiate with the Senate. But the schedule for the hearings, set for July and August, make it unlikely that the two chambers can reach a final agreement before the November elections. When Congress reconvenes in September, most lawmakers will be preoccupied with their campaigns; traditionally, little important business is done at that point.
Failure to produce a bill would be a huge setback for Bush, who has prodded lawmakers to pass immigration legislation that -- like the Senate legislation -- would toughen border enforcement but also create a guest worker program and offer millions of illegal immigrants a way to gain legal status.
Democrats on Tuesday interpreted the House decision to hold town-hall style meetings as an effort to stop the Senate legislation altogether.
"The Republican House wants to defeat the immigration bill," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "This is a stall."
House Republicans want to barnstorm the country to pick apart the moderate Senate plan that Bush supports.
Letting in 66+ million people in just 20 years, substantially increasing welfare costs, and radically altering the political make-up of the United States is moderate? The mainstream media does not hesitate to lie repeatedly about immigration.
Not only does immigration increase the welfare state it also makes the welfare state even less beneficial per dollar spent. The amount of money spent on benefits for non-citizen elderly is growing rapidly. Why should Americans pay retirement benefits for foreigners?
ouse leaders and senior staff members said the hearings will be aimed specifically at eliciting public reaction to the Senate bill, which emerged from legislation originally proposed by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Committee chairmen will also use the forums to reinforce House Republicans' call for strong border security, said Bonjean.
``We want to have a very clear idea of what is in the Senate bill and what people think of some of the provisions in the Senate bill,'' said House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Asked if he realistically believes that Congress can pass a bill before the November elections, Boehner replied, ``Maybe.''
The vast bulk of calls to Congress critters are against an increase in immigration and against the current high levels of legal and illegal immigration. So if Congress members go around holding hearings they are going to hear great anger at Congress's failure to crack down. Taking the time to shine a lot of light on the Senate S.2611 CIRA bill will work against the provisions in that bill. The public will oppose amnesty and a large increase in legal immigration combined with an increase in illegal immigration as well.
To understand why a so-called "guest" worker program will not decrease illegal immigration see my post Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 June 20 09:44 PM Immigration Politics|