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The Fundamental Problem With The House Leadership Border Bill


stop illegal immigration

Back in 2010, well before the Tea Party wave brought Republicans back into the majority in the House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner gave an interview to National Journal’s Major Garrett.
 
One of the key points, perhaps the most important thing Boehner said, was a critique of how the Democrats under Nancy Pelosi ran the House:
 
“We need to stop writing bills in the speaker’s office and let members of Congress be legislators again. Too often in the House right now we don’t have legislators; we just have voters. Under Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, 430 out of the 435 members are just here to vote and raise money. That’s it. That’s not right.  We were each elected to uphold the Constitution and represent 600,000-odd people in our districts.  We need to open this place up, let some air in.  We have nothing to fear from letting the House work its will–nothing to fear from the battle of ideas. That starts with the committees. The result will be more scrutiny and better legislation.” (emphasis ours)
 
Later Garrett asked Boehner about the “three day rule” that is supposed to allow Members to review legislation. Here’s the colloquy between the two:
 
Major Garrett:  If you are speaker, will you ever bring a bill to the floor that hasn’t been true to the three-day rule?
 
Boehner:  No.
 
Major Garrett: That’s it, just "no"?
 
Boehner: Right. Can I see a scenario–like right after 9/11–when we’d have to act immediately in a true national emergency?  I guess…. Maybe, but this is a serious commitment. I know it’s going to be a pain in the neck, but we’re going to do it.
 
In the aftermath of the conservative rebellion against the House GOP leadership’s border package it seems that Boehner’s critique of Nancy Pelosi’s Speakership has come full circle and Boehner and the GOP House leadership team have become the same kind of closed, airless echo chamber that they once criticized.
 
The House Republican leadership team’s border bill received no Committee hearings or markup, there were no witnesses for or against permitted, no third party analysis, and no amendments permitted to it.
 
It was put before the House in a rush with no thought given to the “three day rule,” other than to waive it, a procedure that has now become just as routine under Speaker Boehner as it was under Speaker Pelosi.
 
In short, like a number of the other legislative disasters that have befallen the House GOP leadership, the border package was written behind closed doors by a handful of Members and their often agenda-driven staff with no time for Members at large or the public to review it or have input into it.
 
The result?
 
A bill that in the analysis of Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard “seems to appropriate more money, on a pro-rated monthly basis, than the president's proposal; that it might well make it harder, not easier, to send some or all of the illegal migrants back; that it changes the asylum laws in ways that might well backfire; and that it doesn't deal in any way the core cause of the problem, the president's 2012 executive amnesty for minors or his pending huge expansion of that amnesty.”
 
In a poll conducted July 24 for the Tea Party Patriots 34.6 percent of GOP voters said stopping the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border is the most important issue for Republicans in Congress to deal with. Stopping Obama’s “illegal overreach” with executive power came in a distant second with 24 percent of GOP voters saying that’s the most important, while 23 percent saying repealing Obamacare is the most important and just 7.2 percent say the IRS scandal is the most important issue and 2.8 percent say the Benghazi scandal is most important, our friend Matt Boyle reported.
 
It’s clear to us that the American people, and particularly the limited government constitutional conservative grassroots voters who are the core of the Republican Party, don’t want the House GOP leadership’s border package.
 
Mr. Speaker, we don’t need five members sitting behind a closed door writing a bill, like the Democrats did with the "stimulus" or "Obamacare” and like you are doing with the border package. As you said back in 2010, “It’s nuts.”
 
Mr. Speaker, return to regular order on the border package. Forget the “legislative yoga.” Each Member of the House was elected to uphold the Constitution and represent 600,000-odd people in their district. You need to open-up the House, let some air in and let the voices of those 600,000 people be heard.  You have nothing to fear from letting the House work its will–nothing to fear from the battle of ideas. The House is the body closest to people; let them be heard.

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