Dem committee chair to Rubio: Okay, I’ll … consider holding a hearing on immigration

posted at 7:31 pm on April 2, 2013 by Allahpundit

Is this progress or a runaround? Rubio wrote to Pat Leahy last weekend to urge him not to let the Judiciary Committee rubber-stamp the Gang of Eight’s bill. Democrats want to rush it through, knowing that the longer it ends up being attacked on the Senate floor, the greater the chance the fragile coalitions that support it right now might fall apart. (Which reminds me: If, per Ted Cruz’s theory, Obama and the Dems secretly want to see this bill collapse before the midterms, why are they eager to rush it through? Slow-walking the bill increases the odds of failure substantially.) Rubio, wisely, senses that there’ll be a backlash on the right if the bill passes through shady procedures, so he’s demanding a slowdown. The key bit in his letter to Leahy:

While you and your colleagues on the Judiciary Committee will agree on the details, I respectfully suggest that such a process must begin with a careful examination in the Committee including: hearings that explore multiple perspectives on the scope of the problems we face and the efficacy of the solutions we propose, markups in which a broad range of amendments can be considered, and a robust floor debate. All of this, and any Conference Committee deliberations, should occur in the full view of the American people, broadcast on CSPAN, and streamed live on the internet.

I am aware that the Judiciary Committee, both under your leadership and under the leadership of your predecessors, has conducted a number of hearings related to immigration reform. I am certain that those hearings deepened your knowledge of these issues and will guide much of your work this Congress. But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation. You have said the well-meaning disagreements senators have about these issues should be part of “a discussion we need to have out in the open, in front of the American people.” I agree.

I cannot urge strongly enough that such a discussion start with meaningful hearings. Of particular importance is a full consideration of border security proposals, including testimony from border security experts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and others. A key feature of our bipartisan approach has been an insistence on meeting border security and other enforcement triggers before unauthorized immigrants can apply for permanent residence. But the success of these triggers will require examining what the American taxpayer’s commitment must be in order to make this security plan a reality.

Note the plural: “Hearings.” It’s a complex issue with lots of moving parts. We need hearings on each of those parts to improve the bill. Or do we? Here’s Leahy’s response, delivered just this afternoon:

While we have been waiting for legislative language this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee has already held several widely-attended hearings to examine the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform, including extensive testimony from the Secretary of Homeland Security. I hope these hearings have been useful as you have been developing your legislation.

The Judiciary Committee is capable of swift and thorough action. As soon as we have comprehensive immigration legislation to review, I will consider scheduling a hearing, in consultation with Senator Grassley, the Ranking Republican on Committee, and Senator Schumer, the Immigration Subcommittee Chair, to examine that proposal. I will, however, remain mindful of the urgent need for us to actually get to the work of debating and considering amendments without unnecessary delay because this is an issue to which our attention is long overdue. I am hopeful you recognize, as I do, that if we do not act quickly and decisively we will lose the opportunity we now have to fix our immigration system. Those who have been committed to this effort for decades are counting on us and expect the Senate to act thoughtfully and without further delay. I have little doubt we are capable of doing both and that our committee process will be, as is my practice, a full and open public debate of the legislation.

By this summer, I hope that all members of the Senate will be able to vote for or against comprehensive immigration reform and that each member will take into consideration the significant process that the Senate Judiciary Committee will have completed. The American people have grown tired of the endless filibusters that occur regularly in the Senate.

Note the singular: “A hearing,” and not even a guarantee of one. He’ll consider holding one, provided it doesn’t take too much time from the important business of rubber-stamping this bill. Which prompts the question, are Democrats playing hardball with Rubio here in hopes of getting him to cave on their speeded-up timeframe or in hopes of getting him to quit the Gang of Eight? I’ve speculated before that maybe the White House is trying to have its cake and eat it too by forcing Rubio out of the group at the eleventh hour so that he can claim no credit if/when it passes. He’s arguably the most formidable threat to Democratic control of the presidency; they don’t want to hand him any big victories that might jeopardize their lock on the Latino vote. (I don’t think it will, but O and his team wouldn’t want to risk it.) So here’s their big chance to feed him a poison pill that’ll make him quit the group — maybe he’ll get one hearing on the bill, and if he doesn’t like that, too bad.

Mickey Kaus thinks this is all posturing on Rubio’s part and that he’ll eventually quit the group to show that he’s willing to stand for principle, only to return when Democrats offer him a few new minor concessions so that he can claim “victory” in front of the conservative base. Could be. If you’re a liberal who wants this bill to pass, it’s in your interest to throw Rubio et al. a few bones. But I think it’s also possible that Rubio’s decided at this point that he doesn’t need the bill to pass in order to reap the political benefits from it. He’s already raised his national profile; he’s already proved that he Cares about immigration and is prepared to vote for a path to citizenship. Those two things will remain true even if the bill falls apart over work visas or a lack of hearings or border security or whatever. He’ll be hard for Democrats to demagogue in 2016 on this subject. And his team realizes it:

Three people who have discussed the matter with Rubio say the Florida senator is more willing than people think to pull the plug if it looks like conservative resistance is too strong. In particular, Rubio’s inner circle is concerned about the high-profile roles of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both of whom are Republicans that many conservatives distrust…

Either way, in the end, Rubio’s view has evolved from believing that he needed passage in order to be able to display a substantive accomplishment, to believing he will get credit for trying so aggressively. “What matters is the fight,” one top Republican strategist told us.

Right. Rubio has to triangulate here between outreach to left-leaning Latinos and outreach to amnesty-blocking conservatives. He’s already done the former. He has to be careful now with the latter not to be seen as another Graham. One way to do that is to put up a fuss about hearings when Graham himself is calling for expedited passage through Congress. Walking away now from a bad bill and a dubious process will do his future ambitions less harm than caving to Democratic demands in the interest of getting something through.

Update: Jeff Sessions calls Leahy’s letter to Rubio “alarming.” Quote: “Chairman Leahy’s mention of the possibility of maybe holding a single hearing is not a pledge of openness, but a confirmation of our suspicions. A sound committee process will take months—not the two-week timeframe Chairman Leahy has outlined…”


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“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar

catmman on April 2, 2013 at 7:37 PM

if we do not act quickly and decisively we will lose the opportunity we now have to fix our immigration system.

In other words, “We can’t give people time to figure out what we’re doing, because if they do, we won’t be able to do it ….”

Pathetic.

BD57 on April 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM

He’ll be hard for Democrats to demagogue in 2016 on this subject.

Just as 95% of Blacks voted for The Chosen One, Rubio will have no problem getting a majority of the Hispanic vote.

When the time comes, the Democrats will have no problem pointing that out as “racist!”.

It’s all in the liberal nuance.

GarandFan on April 2, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Pat Leahy

…I’ll will NEVER forgive the people of his state!…NEVER!

KOOLAID2 on April 2, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Dem committee chair to Rubio: Okay, I’ll … consider holding a hearing on immigration tossing you a figleaf

VorDaj on April 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

He’ll be hard for Democrats to demagogue in 2016 on this subject.

Just as 95% of Blacks voted for The Chosen One, Rubio will have no problem getting a majority of the Hispanic vote.

When the time comes, the Democrats will have no problem pointing that out as “racist!”.

It’s all in the liberal nuance.

GarandFan on April 2, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Dems will never attack Hispanics…NEVER, EVER….The reason Rubio is only chance we have for a Republican in the WH. Old white men..are done. Both sides of the aisle. Obama changed politics forever…it’s now pop culture…period. Doesn’t matter. Sad.

Redford on April 2, 2013 at 7:55 PM

“A sound committee process will take months—not the two-week timeframe Chairman Leahy has outlined…”

We can’t have THAT now, can we…?

Seven Percent Solution on April 2, 2013 at 7:58 PM

Pat Leahy

…I’ll will NEVER forgive the people of his state!…NEVER!

KOOLAID2 on April 2, 2013 at 7:51 PM

He’s from Vermont….what would you expect from a bunch of socialists?

Most of the people I know in Vermont, love the fact their Governor, an avowed socialist, passed a single-payer healthcare law up there….and the very best kind of single-payer system too, one where only businesses are the “single payer”….

powerpickle on April 2, 2013 at 7:59 PM

You gonna have room with all the new Muslims coming?

BL@KBIRD on April 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Rubio is just an idiot if he thinks appearing at the microphone with Chuck Schumer, Baby Bob Menendez and Dick Durbin to push AMNESTY down our throats again is going to help him in 2016.

GAYS / AMNESTY / GUNS

24/7/365 all day, all the time, every blog, every website, every morning talk show, every evening news broadcast, every cable news show in the evening…..NON-STOP until we give in!!!

PappyD61 on April 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Just as 95% of Blacks voted for The Chosen One, Rubio will have no problem getting a majority of the Hispanic vote.

When the time comes, the Democrats will have no problem pointing that out as “racist!”.

It’s all in the liberal nuance.

GarandFan on April 2, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Don’t count on it. They’ll demagogue Rubio as just a Cuban, out of touch with “real” Latinos, etc. I am bilingual and stay up with a lot of Spanish language media and it’s amazing how skewed they are toward the Dems. Whichever Dem gets the nomination will be touted as better for Hispanics than Rubio, and most of them will probably believe it…

DavidW on April 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

But they cannot be a substitute for fresh hearings to consider specific legislation as part of a national conversation. You have said the well-meaning disagreements senators have about these issues should be part of “a discussion we need to have out in the open, in front of the American people.”

Marco….you need to learn to interpret libtard-speak. The open discussion he was referring to is the endless appearances on the talking head shows to explain how wonderful the new law is.

You didn’t think he meant to have the most deliberative body on the planet actually discuss a piece of libislation, did you?

BobMbx on April 2, 2013 at 8:16 PM

You gonna have room with all the new Muslims coming?

BL@KBIRD on April 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Its ok, we can absorb another attack.

BobMbx on April 2, 2013 at 8:18 PM

“It’s not that the legislation was wrong, but it moved too far too fast. Congress and the President moved on immigration without an open process and rushed through legislation even though some parts of the reforms were not supported by the majority of Americans. We’ll never know whether I’m right or wrong … things might have turned out differently if Congress had been more open and restrained. Immigration reform may have been less divisive if Congress had been more open about the legislation, debate, listened to the concerns of Americans from both sides without alleging racism, bigotry, and xenophobia. Immigration reform might have been less of a storm centre had it homed in more precisely on the porous borders, open ports, broken visa system and other immigration law issues, along with the costs associated with each, rather than on the supposed nobility of illegal immigrants and alleged-black hearts of those that seek legal immigration and for the rule of law to be upheld.”

- Paraphrasing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“A democracy should not be dependent for its major decisions on what ‘Gangs of Eight’ agree and force upon their colleagues and the country. And I think it’s of tremendous importance for our political system to show the rest of the world – and we have to show ourselves first – that democracy works because we can reach agreement on a principle basis.”

- Paraphrasing Justice Anthony Kennedy

Resist We Much on April 2, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Results for #immigration

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23immigration&src=hash

canopfor on April 2, 2013 at 8:30 PM

I heard that congressional democrats, who are usually reliable union shills, suddenly now refuse to hear from the Immigration Custom Enforcement union representatives during congressional deliberations on immigration reform.

Why not?

Cavalry on April 2, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Rubio has no place in the conservative party. If there still is a conservative party.

voiceofreason on April 2, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Rubio has no place in the conservative party. If there still is a conservative party.

voiceofreason on April 2, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Sad but true .

Lucano on April 2, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Good point, voiceofreason….what conservative party?
One by one they’re morphing into progressives, from abandoning traditional marriage, to supporting Amnesty, the UN arms treaty, & voting for every pork bill that comes along…did we forget $60 billion Sandy pork?

Belle on April 2, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Just as 95% of Blacks voted for The Chosen One, Rubio will have no problem getting a majority of the Hispanic vote.

GarandFan

Pfft. Rubio will never get the majority of the Hispanic vote. And no other Republican will either unless the party finally drops the charade completely and embraces liberalism like their democrat counterparts. Even then it will be difficult.

The reason Rubio is only chance we have for a Republican in the WH. Old white men..are done. Both sides of the aisle. Obama changed politics forever…it’s now pop culture…period. Doesn’t matter. Sad.

Redford

Stop buying into the propaganda you’ve been fed by both sides.

xblade on April 2, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Kabuki meet Theater.

Hand meet Puppet.

profitsbeard on April 3, 2013 at 2:10 AM