A battle has been brewing in the Republican Party for some time, long before President Obama was re-elected this past November. On one side is the big business Washington establishment represented by K Street lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce. On the other side are populist, main street, grassroots conservatives represented by the Tea Party and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint. Few issues divide the Republican Party more clearly along these lines than immigration reform. And this week, the battle just got ugly.

Grover Norquist, who took thousands of dollars from former-lobbyist and convicted fraudster Jack Abramoff, has long been an advocate of granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the United States today. And National Review reports that Norquist has stepped up his amnesty campaign since Obama won four more years in the White House this November. Norquist is now hosting weekly Friday meetings with other Republican groups like the Chamber of Commerce that support importing cheap labor from other countries no matter how high the unemployment rate is. Using a curious set of analogies, Norquist recently told NR, “The idea of treating people as a liability — that more people coming in might go on welfare — that’s an argument against having babies, that’s an argument for car accidents, an argument for abortion.”

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, who opposes amnesty and earned perfect scores from the National Right to Life Committee when he served in the Senate, must be surprised to learn that, according to Grover, he is an abortionist.

Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform, even directly attacked Heritage on Monday when they sent a memo to Republican staffers on Capitol Hill calling Heritage’s 2007 immigration research, showing that low-skilled immigrants cost state and federal governments trillions in new welfare spending, “severely flawed.” Instead, ATR pointed Republicans to research done by Cato purporting to show that poor immigrants use public benefits at a lower rate than poor native-born citizens.

Republicans on Capitol Hill should examine both The Heritage Foundation and Cato studies and make up their own minds But they should also note that, while the author of Heritage’s immigration research, Robert Rector, is widely credited with helping to pass welfare reform in the 1990s, the author of the Cato paper, Leighton Ku, is a liberal who supported Obamacare, personally worked on implementing Obamacare, and is still is advocating for conservative states to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

In case their is any doubt where each side stands, The New York Times reports today that Al Cardenas, another long-time amnesty advocate, has been using the American Conservative Union’s good name, to solicit money from business groups that support big government spending. “In a draft proposal circulated to defense and transportation industry executives in recent weeks, the union is offering to use its grass-roots organization, annual conference and movement clout to lobby against cuts to federal military and infrastructure spending,” The New York Times reports.

Republicans who still claim to be part of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party should really take a close look at who their fellow immigration reform allies are. In particular, does Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., really want to be branded as a member of the K Street, Chamber of Commerce, John McCain/Lindsey Graham wing of the Republican Party.

The Gang of Ocho is supposedly set to unveil their immigration bill sometime next week. We’ll see where Rubio stands soon.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Feds waste $95 billion on duplicative programs
Sean Higgins: Wisconsin union membership plunging as workers exercise new rights
Michael Barone: ‘Divisive’ Thatcher rejected conventional wisdom of ruling class
Tim Carney: Subsidized Marlins Park sitting empty
Conn Carroll: Unions and rich environmentalists unite to kill jobs in California again

In Other News
Roll Call, Manchin, Toomey Prepare to Unveil Gun Deal: A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators signaled Tuesday night that it has reached a deal in principle on expanding background checks to include more gun sales, in what was widely seen as the major sticking point on the biggest gun control legislation to reach the floor since 1994.
McClatchy Newspapers, Obama’s drone war kills ‘others,’ not just al Qaida leaders: Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.
The New York Times, Obama Pushes His Choice for Position on Appeals Court: The nomination of Sri Srinivasan to a federal appeals court will test an aggressive new strategy that the White House and Senate Democrats are hoping will put Republicans in a bind.
The Wall Street Journal, Scant Relief in Foreclosure Payouts: The vast majority of borrowers being compensated for mortgage-related abuses will get $1,000 or less apiece, a sobering coda to a protracted attempt to help those who may have been placed into foreclosure as a result of banks’ mistakes.
The Washington Post, Obama to unveil $3.77 trillion spending plan: President Obama plans Wednesday to unveil a $3.77 trillion spending plan that proposes modest new investments in infrastructure and education, major new taxes for the wealthy and significant reforms aimed at reducing the cost of Social Security and Medicare.
USA Today, FBI probes tape at McConnell’s request: The FBI said Tuesday it is investigating whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Louisville campaign office was bugged after aides were caught on tape discussing possible political attacks on Ashley Judd.

Lefty Playbook
Talking Points Memo claims that Obama’s budget is both “A Final Gesture Of Good Faith To GOP” and “One Last Swipe At Mitt Romney”
Think Progress complains that science reinforces gender stereotypes.
Ezra Klein worries that Max Baucus will undermine Democratic plans for higher taxes.

Righty Playbook
Ramesh Ponnuru & Yuval Levin respond to liberal critics of their repeal Obamacare article.
Mike Riggs highlights a new survey of more than 15,000 cops finding most of them oppose more gun control
Evan Soltas on The Myth of the Falling Bridge.
Andrew Biggs asks, “So the types of workers we don’t want U.S. schools to produce are precisely the type the American economy needs more of?”