The House shouldn’t allow a conference committee with the Senate on the Gang of Eight bill
MICHAEL GRAHAM: Would they be able to offer a counter-proposal to confront the notion that Republicans are just the party of no, they just resist everything? Could they put together a package of border security issues, workplace enforcement and then the possibility that if targets are met that there’d be some legalization of the people who are here without getting themselves into a conference trap?
KRISTOL: Sure, they could pass individual pieces of legislation or knit them together as they wish. That’s not going to be easy. This is a hard problem, and in some cases maybe deciding just to do nothing for now and revisit it in a year or two, but I hope they can pass pieces of legislation. I think the key then is to say, “Look, the Senate should take up this legislation.” The Senate could amend it, the Senate could send it back to us. That’s traditionally the way legislation often gets worked out. But we are not going to let you use as an excuse for going to conference some piece of border security legislation or guest worker legislation or high-tech visa legislation that we pass. Because once they go to conference, the Senate can dominate the conference, the few renegade House Republicans can team with House Democrats to end up with a conference report. Then the speaker’s in the position of is he not going to bring up a conference report? And once it gets to the floor, it can be passed with overwhelmingly Democratic votes in the House. So, it’s a little technical, I guess, as a legislative process matter, but I think it’s very important that House Republicans, on the one hand, put forward their own ideas, absolutely, but on the other hand, take the position: no capitulation to the Senate bill. I’d say no comprehensive legislation in the way comprehensive is being used — 1,200 page bill full of pork and exceptions and waivers and all that. So no capitulation, no comprehensive legislation and no conference with the Senate bill.