House GOP's Doublespeak on Senate Bill
The House GOP Judiciary Committee “Immigration Resources Packet,” distributed to members at Wednesday’s conference meeting includes a two-page section attacking the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. But that section, and the pamphlet as a whole, make no mention of the House GOP leadership's plan to conference a group of House bills, or a single bill, with the Senate bill.
The section, which begins on page 20, is headlined “Talking Points: Top 10 Concerns About Senate Bill.”
The first point addresses how, according to House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the Senate bill is unconstitutional because it raises revenue and originated in the Senate, a point first brought to light by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX). The talking points then address how the Senate bill is “legalization before border security,” how it has a “lack of border security,” how in it “interior enforcement is virtually nonexistent,” how it “won’t end illegal immigration,” the fact it contains a “special pathway to citizenship” and “endangers our communities,” because it “releases criminals back onto the streets” and how it contains an “unworkable ag[riculture] guestworker program” and a “slush fund for liberal activist groups.”
Under each of those talking point headers, it provides GOP members a line or two and some facts through which they can effectively argue the Senate bill is no good.
Yet the packet does not address how House Republican leaders, including the member responsible for drafting the material, House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, remain open to salvaging the Senate bill via a conference committee process.
In conference, representatives for House GOP leadership would negotiate with Senate Democratic leadership, and potentially the White House, on what they would call a “compromise” on immigration reform. Conservatives worry the legislation that would come out of a conference would look more like the Senate bill than not--or even identical to the upper chamber's legislation.
Ryan confirmed that the House GOP leadership is open to going to conference with the Senate bill, too, during a recent town hall meeting in Racine, WI.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Mike McCaul disagrees with that strategy, however, having recently told Breitbart News that he thinks the House should not go to conference with the Senate bill.
Senate Democrats are pushing House Republicans to reach the conference stage. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Gang of Eight, recently made his case before leftwing activists at the Center for American Progress (CAP): “Get us to a conference," Menendez asked the liberal activists. “In a conference, we can negotiate the notion of bringing all those bills together and get to common ground."