Is immigration reform the next threat to normal order?

posted at 10:01 am on April 2, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

One might have gathered from the deluge of news about breakthroughs on comprehensive immigration reform that bipartisanship was so strong on the issue that the negotiators would want to publicly demonstrate their success.  However, the immediate response from Marco Rubio strongly suggested that the Gang of Eight had other ideas about how to proceed with its legislative language.  In his statement on Sunday, Rubio warned that stories of an agreement on a bill were “premature” — and then demanded an open process for debate in Congress:

“We will need a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments. Eight senators from seven states have worked on this bill to serve as a starting point for discussion about fixing our broken immigration system. But arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people’s consideration, through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren’t part of this initial drafting process. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.”

In my column today for The Week, I look at the assumptions that went into the supposed necessity of backroom deals to bypass bitter partisanship on Capitol Hill, on budgets, ObamaCare, and practically everything else produced during Barack Obama’s term as President.  Maybe the impulse for secret deals and rushed legislation speaks to something else entirely, if a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive immigration reform can’t be aired publicly through the committee process:

The fact that this needs to be said speaks volumes about the breakdown of public access to congressional action. For the past four years, the debate and production of the most basic of all legislative efforts — the federal budget — has been shielded from public view, thanks to the Senate’s refusal to work within normal order. Instead, the public has had to endure artificial crisis after crisis while a few politicians make all the decisions behind closed doors. Their agreements are then rushed through in temporary measures or continuing resolutions.

Critics claimed that these “fiscal cliffs” and episodes of brinksmanship demonstrate the corrosive nature of partisan bitterness and division, since the two parties could not even conduct the most basic of business together. But now we have what appears to be bipartisan agreement on one of the most contentious issues facing the U.S. over the last decade or more — and Rubio’s statement suggests that the negotiators don’t want any sunlight on cooperation, either. It shows that the problem may not be bitter partisanship after all, but a lack of intestinal fortitude among our governing class.

This lack of transparency and public involvement is much worse for self-government than a lack of resolution on the immigration issue. While it’s easy to understand the political risks of taking public positions on immigration reform, and to appreciate how fragile any eventual agreement would be, the impulse of Congress to hide its work and then rush it through an ill-informed vote is the worst legacy of the Senate’s four-year abdication of its responsibilities. Legislation as far-reaching and important as immigration reform and border security deserves a public hearing and input from elected officials of all 50 states, not just a self-selected clique of elites enabled by public officials anxious to dodge responsibility for the outcome.

David Drucker warned of the same problem at Roll Call last night, and notes that Rubio felt the same frustration as his fellow rank-and-file Republicans have over the last two or more years:

During the 112th Congress, most major legislation was decided in closed-door negotiations that included only a handful of members, after which a bill was presented to rank-and-file lawmakers as a take-it-or-leave it proposition. This strategy caused frustration, particularly among House Republicans, and was partly responsible for Speaker John A. Boehner’s decision this year to renew his commitment to running legislation through “regular order.”

Rubio understands this frustration, which he has felt in the Senate as well. That’s why, during his media blitz on conservative talk radio back in January, he vowed to Rush Limbaugh and other influential hosts that the legislative process for an immigration overhaul would be transparent and deliberate, and that he would not be a party to jamming a bill through Congress.

Regular order would also allow Rubio the time he needs to show conservatives that he’s fighting for the principles that are important to them, regardless of the final makeup of the legislation and whether it passes.

In the end, Rubio is telling his colleagues, the perception of the legislative process here is as politically important to the success of the legislation as what’s in the bill.

Rubio is absolutely correct on all counts.  What’s more, he’s indispensable to the success of the bill — and the other Gang members know it, Politico reports:

Immigration reform is alive and kicking because Sen. Marco Rubio was there at conception. It will likely die if Rubio bolts in the end.

The possibility that Rubio could walk away, more than any other dynamic, is shaping the final details of new immigration laws, participants tell us.

Without Rubio, GOP leaders – and many Democrats – worry any bipartisan deal will be impossible to sell to conservatives.

This reality has been driving the closed-door action on immigration during the week since the Senate left town. It was Rubio’s reservations about the details of a temporary-worker program – which he insists is needed to help business and take pressure off the border — that nearly sank the package last week. And it was fear of his rejection that helped bring labor and business groups together on a Good Friday agreement that appears to have put the immigration deal on track for an announcement when the Senate returns next week.

Normal order will be necessary for any possibility of building confidence in it among American voters.  In fact, Rubio’s demand for normal order is actually more important than the bill itself or the issue it seeks to resolve.  Without accountability and open legislative processes, representative democracy becomes a faith-based exercise and politicians have no reason to defend their actions to their constituents.  Normal order should be the highest priority for Republicans in this Congress regardless of the issues involved, or the difficulties it creates for politicians who probably need more accountability than most others.


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Normal order? Come on, when social justice and speaking truth to power is on the line you just need to act and do the “right” thing. Bigots.

Bishop on April 2, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Try seeing where your senators stand on birthright citizenship. Bet you can’t do it because the won’t answer.

If you have a senator in the gang of eight please call them about it.

DanMan on April 2, 2013 at 10:08 AM

he looks really, really thirsty.

renalin on April 2, 2013 at 10:08 AM

We don’t need “reform” but enforcement of our existing laws regarding legal immigration and illegal border jumping. Enough with the Hispandering. The feral government has no problem removing our God given rights and protection under the Second Amendment but just can’t seem to follow the law regarding illegal aliens. Personally, I have had enough and will not stand any more of this Imperial government.

trs on April 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Still not sure what to make of Rubio on this topic. He seems for amnesty, then says things that make it sound like he’s sort of kind of not because blah but yeah, in the end he really is, etc.

Midas on April 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Normal order will be necessary for any possibility of building confidence in it among American voters. In fact, Rubio’s demand for normal order is actually more important than the bill itself or the issue it seeks to resolve.

You mean actually holding committee hearings BEFORE passing sweeping legislation? The rat-eared devil doesn’t roll that way. He gathers the press in the Rose Garden, rewards trespassers with de facto amnesty, and gets snippy when somebody dares point out that these criminals are taking opportunity away from American children.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM

I’m just glad that people are finally starting to see who Rubio was and always is – a puppet for the Establishment. Here’s one guy that is actually ‘waning’ and becoming irrelevant all because of his amnesty push

journeymike on April 2, 2013 at 10:14 AM

We actually need more than normal order. It’s time for that 72 hour public comment period the Democrats promised — the promise honored entirely in the breach — so that the people have a chance to review legislation and comment.

As for the issue itself, I’m all for as unrestricted an immigration policy as we can have, given that we are at war. It’s the right thing to do from a Christian standpoint — to welcome the stranger in your midst. It will also make America a more competitive place (up yours, Unions!), and bring the underground economy associated with the illegals/undocumented above ground.

unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

“In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.”

No process should. That some processes can “be rushed or done in secret” is actually our new reality, from which we have to make special exceptions, and only if we really want the process “to succeed.” Unbelievable. Impeach them all.

rrpjr on April 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

DanMan on April 2, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I’m all for birth right citizenship — the type of citizenship we’ve had since the founding.

If you try to lock that door, you really will lose the majority of Americans — it’s a non-starter.

unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Hispandering.

trs on April 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM

They don’t like you either, and in just a few years, they will be in the majority.

unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Normal order ? When you have a
gang of 8 ? When one senator can
kill the whole damn thing ?
Normal order ?
I’m not buying anything .

Lucano on April 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Eight senators from seven states have worked on this bill to serve as a starting point for discussion about fixing our broken immigration system.

Who said it was broken?

Again, who decided that ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ just had to be done this Spring? Why not last year, or the year before? Why not when democratics had an unstoppable supermajority?

Who makes these decisions?

Isn’t the status quo pretty good considering what the democratics and RINOs want to do?

slickwillie2001 on April 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM

for politicians who probably need more accountability than most others.

They should receive an order of tar and feathers with a side order of hemp every day to keep them in line.

chemman on April 2, 2013 at 10:38 AM

unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM

bullshi’ite

DanMan on April 2, 2013 at 10:39 AM

unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

We lost our morality when we left the ramparts of laws considered, voted on and duly passed!

The American public has a real problem with the undocumenteds or whatever the PC term is. They don’t have a conservative leader with the spine to lead the charge to enforce the law and influences like the media have insured that we have nothing in the Republican party except “weak sisters” or Dem light.

Well, I have advocated tossing them out, giving everyone cards and then soaking anyone without a card (with $15 a gallon gasoline costs and etc.)and then I floated effectively “just forgetting about the whole thing” in some conversations.

Guess which was most well received?

It looks like nothing will pass unless a fast move is made by the proponents and the stars line up just right. Unfortunately, it is likely that nothing will be done and that isn’t really fair to anybody.

IlikedAUH2O on April 2, 2013 at 10:40 AM

As for the issue itself, I’m all for as unrestricted an immigration policy as we can have, given that we are at war. It’s the right thing to do from a Christian standpoint — to welcome the stranger in your midst.
unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

And give those strangers $20k a year in Obamacare subsidies, plus thousands more in food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing, etc.

Is national bankruptcy also a Christian policy? Just wondering.

AZCoyote on April 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

slickwillie2001 on April 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I would love to post a picture or name but I know a very attractive lady with thoughts just like yours.

All she gets is abuse for her views.

IlikedAUH2O on April 2, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Put bills online for the voters to look at before a vote. . . . .

Have debates on CSPAN. . . . . .

Most transparent administration. . . . . . .

No backroom deals. . . . . . . .

No influence from lobbyist. . . . . . .

Did I leave any out? Feel free to jump on in with assistance.

Need we go down this road again? Lying liars who lie.

D-fusit on April 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Have you considered what the welcome will do to our nation? Like them voting themselves $$$ from the public purse? Have you projected that we would make our heirs in this nation poorer?

On a personal note:

Do you take strangers into your home?

I have fun with all the saints in this nation. Like the response I get from with the left concerning blacks.

How many blacks have you helped start a business?

How many blacks have you had dinner with in the last year?

How many inner city charities have you helped with your own money?

Even Jesus hated hypocrites.

IlikedAUH2O on April 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Is immigration reform the next threat to normal order?

Uh, it’s called AMNESTY for ILLEGALS – and Rubio is the key player, and yes, it is a THREAT to America.

Pork-Chop on April 2, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Beyond fed up with latinos and their non-latino friends and family sucking the air out of the immigration debate, as latinos constitute by far the largest group of illegals.

It’s like being lectured by thieves and their accomplices on fiscal and moral responsibility. STFU already, losers.

Christien on April 2, 2013 at 10:56 AM

They have to pass it so that we can find out what’s in it.

jnelchef on April 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

I have a very powerful and novel idea. Sit down. It’s good. It’s called Boarder Security.

I know – it’s almost too simple. But the idea behind it is that it will PREVENT the problems that Rubio and his Gang are trying to solve. Now, you might say that lawmakers are allergic or phobic to the whole ounce of prevention vs. pound of cure thingy. I would agree. But if our lawmakers are truly wanting to solve the problem of these poor folks living in the shadows etc. they would allow them to invest their time and lives in their own country. This way, they don’t have to perpetually live in fear of the light of day here in America.

:-) Really!

LetsBfrank on April 2, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Boarder Border Security.

Carry on.

LetsBfrank on April 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

How many blacks have you had dinner with in the last year?

IlikedAUH2O on April 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Wow, just wow. Leave it to one of the voices of the “true conservatives” to think that is so unusual as to be considered farcical.

Marcus on April 2, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Just imagine if the Republicans had latched on to this when Rubio first proposed it, not rushed to pass it, but took it to heart and started working on it, we’d be so far ahead now. I hope they listen to him because he’s no Obama, he knows how the legislative process works and is willing to deal with it. Transparency will stop anything sneaky from getting in the bill.

bflat879 on April 2, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Normal order would be not even speaking about immigration reform or amnesty until this country is at full employment.
With each passing day I lose more respect for Rubio even entertaining this garbage.

ouldbollix on April 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I’m so glad that Cruz is NOT on-board w/Rubio’s hispandering.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

McCain tested – Jeb Bush approved: Marco Rubio.

“So, light you’ll swear it’s not conservative!”

Panther on April 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

They promise they will suddenly care about enforcing laws if we only vote for NEW ones.

Liars, all.

profitsbeard on April 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Legislation as far-reaching and important as immigration reform and border security deserves a public hearing

That’s what Senator Robert Byrd said when he explained why he had been so against using the Byrd Reconciliation rule to pass the massive Hillarycare “reform” in 1993.

But months away from death in 2010, Senator Byrd allowed Obamacare “fixes” to be passed using the Byrd Reconciliation rule.

I wonder if he was too senile at that point to realize what was going on.

ITguy on April 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM

When illegal aliens are the issue DC has little safe harbor for honest politicians.

Both sides have vigorously stabbed Americans in the back.

Only with complicity on a cosmic scale could an non-uniformed expeditionary force consisting of multiple millions per year cross our border.

Si Se Puede deport them, and we can retroactively clarify our 14th amendment.

Put bad politicians in a place where they must do right.

And watch your own back.

90% of the politicians give the other 10% a bad reputation.
- Henry Kissinger

Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his political life.
- Jeremy Thorpe

Speakup on April 2, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Rubio is a treasonous little worm.

The GOP had better start doing all of their speeches and advertising in Spanish from now on because they are going to need all the illegals they are working for to register (using whatever fake names and fraudulent papers they have stolen from Americans) and vote for them because I’m not voting GOP anymore. Decades of voting for Republicans is at an end for me.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Of some note to the evil money cult in Washington D.C..

Should they sink so low as to sell out We The People on our citizenship, the rule of law and the Constitution on this crime of amnesty and try to hide the decline to crime.

Well may be they will need all the ammo they have been buying.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on April 2, 2013 at 1:03 PM

I left the Republican party last Friday. Actually, they left me, I just made it official.

It became clear that the GOP (now the Grand Old Panderers…) have joined the Democrats in raising the interests of 11M+ citizens of foreign nations here illegally (and millions of their soon to be “reunified” relatives from those foreign nations) above the interests and well-being of American citizens.

Both parties are working hard to create and save a massive government-dependent underclass by legislative fiat that creates millions of artificial, nation-changing votes. Right in front of our faces.

The “path to citizenship” *is* the “superhighway to absolute leftist-Democrat control”.

Once Obama signs “immigration reform”, middle class American citizens will start to feel nation-changing dilution of their voting power and rapidly accelerating, increasingly radical leftist “change”.

Given the Left’s ordered list of hated freedoms and overwhelming desire for control, the 2nd Amendment will be moot in five to ten years – with much worse to follow in the “fundamental transformation of America”.

“Immigration reform” is our last chance. Call your Congress people daily. Pound on them. Hard.

DrDeano on April 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM

If Rubio doesn’t walk away from the gang of 8 he will not even be re-elected senator. He will be a tiny McCain, no more.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

As for the issue itself, I’m all for as unrestricted an immigration policy as we can have, given that we are at war. It’s the right thing to do from a Christian standpoint — to welcome the stranger in your midst. It will also make America a more competitive place (up yours, Unions!), and bring the underground economy associated with the illegals/undocumented above ground.

unclesmrgol

This is why religion has no place in government. Too many people like you view it as a reason to abandon logic and common sense. Christianity, like the Constitution, isn’t a suicide pact.

xblade on April 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Rubio could walk away,

What difference does it make? Any representative that would advocate for, and accommodate a select group that want to pick and choose which of our laws they are willing to abide by…and then on top of it believes these individuals should be rewarded for breaking U.S. laws…doesn’t have the common sense or moral integrity to hold any office.
Rubio needs to be handed his hat and a sturdy pair of walking shoes when all is said and done.

lynncgb on April 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

This is why religion has no place in government. Too many people like you view it as a reason to abandon logic and common sense. Christianity, like the Constitution, isn’t a suicide pact.

xblade

And just so there’s no misunderstanding, no, I don’t hate religion. I just have a problem with people like Mr.Magoo who use religion to push stupid ideas.

I’m all for birth right citizenship — the type of citizenship we’ve had since the founding.

If you try to lock that door, you really will lose the majority of Americans — it’s a non-starter.

unclesmrgol

Yet another issue in this debate that you are wrong about.

They don’t like you either, and in just a few years, they will be in the majority.

unclesmrgol

Even more reason to not give amnesty then, isn’t it?

Why not when democratics had an unstoppable supermajority?

slickwillie2001

Because the dems would have taken all the blame, and would probably have lost even more in 2010, and would have likely lost in 2012. They’re happy to do it now because the idiot republicans are willing to give them cover.

Even Jesus hated hypocrites.

IlikedAUH2O

And even Heaven has gates.

xblade on April 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

As for the issue itself, I’m all for as unrestricted an immigration policy as we can have, given that we are at war. It’s the right thing to do from a Christian standpoint — to welcome the stranger in your midst. It will also make America a more competitive place (up yours, Unions!), and bring the underground economy associated with the illegals/undocumented above ground.

unclesmrgol

First, our military is contracting in size, we don’t need to open the borders to let thousands in to produce one who will join the military. That’s an ignorant statement at best.

Further, explain exactly how many “strangers” must be “welcomed into our midst” such that you feel sufficiently “Christian”?

And explain whom exactly shall society hold responsible for the costs and behaviors of the “welcomed”? I didn’t notice where you volunteered to pay for them or got to jail with them in your self-righteous rant.

Where were you or any of those like you when one of those you welcome here so piously was DUI and hit and slaughtered my girlfriend then ran back to southern Mexico to escape prosecution – only to return less than three years later under another name only to kill himself and two other innocent Americans?

So many of you say you want to “welcome” those who choose to violate our laws and American citizen’s rights as a nation of people – but do you step up to be held responsible financially, legally and morally for them and their behavior?

Hell no you don’t. You are happy to let other people and their loved ones pay and suffer so you can feel some faux righteousness.

DrDeano on April 2, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Why not when democratics had an unstoppable supermajority?

slickwillie2001

Because the dems would have taken all the blame, and would probably have lost even more in 2010, and would have likely lost in 2012. They’re happy to do it now because the idiot republicans are willing to give them cover.

xblade

Enacting “Immigration reform” is the ultimate win-win for Democrats:

Dems get more than enough votes to “fundamentally transform America” into a leftist-controlled, gun-free, mega-tax, Lefty-Utopia, *and* get to watch as the Republicans humiliate and debase themselves for all to see while committing political suicide at the same time…

DrDeano on April 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

They don’t like you either
unclesmrgol on April 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Yeah, some of us kind of got that feeling when all the Hispanics cheered for the visiting Mexican soccer team and booed the home team on it’s own soil. And we get the feeling again when Hispanics instinctively choose to wave Mexican flags at any protest regarding U.S. policy…or when they’re out there making the claim that their usurped benefactors aren’t doing enough for them. We’ve had the feeling for quite some time that maybe too many Hispanics may not have much interest in actually integrating and assimilating and becoming proud American citizens…and it leads us to be skeptical and suspicious of why they actually want to be here at all.
It’s just reason #97 to think amnesty isn’t such a good idea.

lynncgb on April 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Rubio could walk away,

What difference does it make? Any representative that would advocate for, and accommodate a select group that want to pick and choose which of our laws they are willing to abide by…and then on top of it believes these individuals should be rewarded for breaking U.S. laws…doesn’t have the common sense or moral integrity to hold any office.
Rubio needs to be handed his hat and a sturdy pair of walking shoes when all is said and done.

lynncgb on April 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

correct

If Rubio doesn’t walk away from the gang of 8 he will not even be re-elected senator. He will be a tiny McCain, no more.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Too late. Prior to the SOU rebuttal, Rubio published his essays on selective enforcement of the law i.e. amnesty. This was to set up his SOU ‘rebuttal’. Then the public was fed a line to believe Rand Paul would be a counterpoint to Rubio, but in fact, he was a clone. All this had to be set up long before SOU. They are part of the strategy.

This time around I will not hold my nose and vote, as with McCain. It is over. The pack of dogs in DC is so crooked I gain nothing by helping them make this a borderless nation.

In reality, there are no borderless nations, except in historical archives

It doesn’t matter which party you vote for anymore, the government no longer serves the people, they serve K-street, and it turns out that foreigners have more representation in our government than the American people do.

FloatingRock on March 31, 2013 at 1:37 PM

entagor on April 2, 2013 at 6:01 PM