To chants of “Si se puede” (Spanish for President Obama’s “Yes, we can!” campaign slogan), the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the S. 744 immigration bill out of committee Tuesday on a 13-to-5 vote. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, were the only Republicans who voted with the Democrats for the bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to take up the bill on the Senate floor after the Memorial Day recess.
And S. 744 is all but guaranteed to get a quick up-or-down vote, despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office still has not produced a cost estimate of the legislation. Hours before final passage, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters he had no plan of stopping the bill from proceeding to the floor. “So far, I’m told that the Judiciary Committee hasn’t in any fundamental way undone the agreements that were agreed by the eight senators,” McConnell said. “So, I’m hopeful we can get a bill that we can pass here in the Senate.”
McConnell is exactly right. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has kept a tight leash on the Republican members of the Gang of Eight who are supporting President Obama’s top second-term legislative priority: amnesty for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. On Monday, Schumer was caught by C-SPAN asking a staffer “Do our Republicans have a pass on this one if they want?” in reference to an amendment by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., that would have denied earned income tax credits to amnestied immigrants. In fact, Schumer’s Republicans did “have a pass” on that amendment. Flake and Graham voted with their colleagues to limit the EITC. But, because Democrats have a majority on the committee, that amendment, and every other conservative amendment trying to restrict the growth of the welfare states, failed.
In light of the now very clearly liberal nature of the bill, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham Tuesday that he could no longer support S. 744. “I’m a liberal, as you know, on immigration reform,” he said. “Think of the trust you have to have in bureaucracy to make all this work … If you like Obamacare, you should like this immigration bill. And I honestly think conservatives should oppose it on those grounds alone.”
Hope in the House
With final passage all but assured in the Senate, it is now up to the House to stop Obama’s latest expansion of the welfare state. Fortunately, House Republicans appear to be sticking to their principles a bit more firmly than Senate Republicans. Talks between Democrats and Republicans have reportedly broken down over health care for immigrants seeking citizenship. Republicans want to deny citizenship to any immigrant who uses government health care services. Democrats believe this is a betrayal of Obamacare.
If the Democrats hold firm, will House Republicans walk away? Or will they cave like Schumer’s Republicans in the Senate?
From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Foxx could push FAA to adopt glider warning rule
Phil Klein: Five reasons why focus on scandals is unlikely to backfire on GOP as in 1998
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Byron York: Lawmakers dig into life-and-death issues of Benghazi
In Other News
Los Angeles Times, Top IRS official will invoke Fifth Amendment: Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening — or why she didn’t disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
Politico, Heads won’t roll at the IRS: It appears that no one has been formally reprimanded, and a spokesperson for the union representing IRS workers said it hasn’t been called to help any employees yet.
Fox News, DOJ seized phone records of numbers tied to Fox News lines: Newly uncovered court documents show the Justice Department seized phone records associated with several Fox News lines as part of a leak investigation — a revelation that comes as the White House Correspondents’ Association spoke out against the administration’s monitoring of reporters.
The Washington Post, Petraeus had key role in Benghazi talking points: E-mails reveal the former CIA director had ordered detailed talking points that went far beyond a House panel’s request, leading to a bureaucratic fight.
The New York Times, Number of drone strikes drops sharply: In an address on Thursday, President Obama will attempt to lay out his justification for drone strikes, which have been in decline since 2010, and what they have achieved.
McClatchy Newspapers, Aid expected to easily flow to Oklahoma victims: The Oklahoma City area is already home to two of the costliest tornadoes in the last half-century, and Monday’s devastating twister that hit just south of the city is likely to stress federal emergency dollars already under pressure from the recent federal budget cuts.
Joan Walsh calls Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe hypocrites for supporting federal disaster aid for Oklahoma.
Greg Sargent hopes that Republicans’ hatred of Obama leads to GOP overreach.
Kevin Drum says David Petraeus is the real villain in the Benghazi scandal.
Ramesh Ponnuru worries the Obama scandals could distract the GOP from rebuilding their party.
Mark Perry notes that the number of violent tornadoes has actually been decreasing.
Eliana Johnson says that the IRS’ D.C. leadership knew exactly what the Cincinnati office was doing.