Conservatives wanted two things out of this process vis-a-vis enforcement. One: They wanted to know that the border really would be secured this time so that we don’t have to revisit amnesty again in 25 years. Two: They wanted that security to come before any legalization of illegals commenced. We got neither of those things, the latter by Rubio’s own admission and the former by CBO’s. (CBO hasn’t offered an estimate of how much the Corker/Hoeven amendment would reduce illegal immigration, but if the original Gang of Eight bill reduced it by only 25 percent, rest assured that Corker/Hoeven’s not getting us anywhere near 100.) In fact, the Corker/Hoeven amendment that allegedly does everything conservatives could dream of on the border wasn’t even Rubio’s first choice when it came to boosting security. He flirted with backing Cornyn’s amendment, only to walk away when he pals Chuck and Lindsey told him that the hard targets Cornyn demanded were a bit too hard for their liking. That’s when Rubio turned to the weaker Corker/Hoeven — which, as it turned out, gave us everything we could possibly want.
You’re welcome, America:
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, shifting his tone on the U.S. immigration bill he helped to write, said on Tuesday he is now fully satisfied that the measure will do what it takes to secure the southern border with Mexico…
“This amendment basically now puts into place virtually everything people have been asking me to do about immigration enforcement since I began talking about this issue,” Rubio told a convention of the American Society of News Editors. “I think we’ve run out of things we can to do to support – to improve the border.”…
Asked about House Speaker John Boehner’s strategy for handling the immigration issue in that chamber, Rubio said it is up to House lawmakers to determine the course they want to take.
But he added: “I think we have a good piece of legislation they should take a look at. There are a lot of good ideas that they should adopt.”
I’ve got a question. If the bill now covers all the bases on the border, why are Gang of Eight members still considering offering Republican senators legislative bribes and kickbacks to win their votes?
Republican sources are telling National Review Online that Gang of Eight members were less-than-thrilled by the outcome of yesterday’s vote to advance their immigration reform bill, and they are now looking for ways to win — or buy — more GOP votes. The bill is certain to pass, of course, but proponents are hoping for 70 votes, meaning they will need more than the 15 Republicans who voted for cloture on Monday.
Opponents of the bill are concerned that, sometime within the next 24 to 48 hours, the Gang of Eight will come to an agreement with Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to allow votes on a series of amendments that have been handpicked by the Gang, and are designed to placate wavering Republicans and win their votes for the final bill. It will not be an open process, as was originally promised, and could involve more giveaways like the “Casino Cash-out” and the “Crabhusker Kickback” – the functional equivalent of earmarks, which have been banned since 2011. ”It’s another backroom deal,” says one GOP aide. “This is how we do earmarks these days.”
Rob Portman’s amendment would at least strengthen E-Verify, not pay for an extraneous bridge or something in Ohio. Another question: What difference does getting a handful more Republican votes in the Senate make to the House at this point? They got 69 yesterday, which is considerably more than most major legislation ever gets these days. Even with that many in the bank, House aides are telling WaPo flatly that no one cares. “It wouldn’t be something a Republican Senate would bring to the floor,” said one aide. “Why should a Republican House just take it up?” (Tom Cole put it even more succinctly.) Because … it would help Rubio’s chances to be president in 2016?
Update: Utterly devastating.
As the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein recently reported: “Under Obamacare, businesses with over 50 workers that employ American citizens without offering them qualifying health insurance could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 per worker. But because newly legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges until after they become citizens – at least 13 years under the Senate bill – businesses could avoid such fines by hiring the new immigrants instead.”
On Tuesday afternoon, THE WEEKLY STANDARD asked five different U.S. Senators about this problem. These five senators, all Democrats, voted to cut off debate Monday night on the revised immigration bill, but none of them knew if the bill would create a financial incentive for some employers to hire amnestied immigrants instead of American citizens.
“We’re trying to solve that right now. I don’t know if that’s been solved,” Senator Max Baucus of Montana (chief author of Obamacare) told THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
They voted to end debate on a bill without knowing for sure if it gives employers a huge incentive to hire illegals over Americans? What?