Jeff Flake: Paul Ryan's Plan 'Good Shot at a Breakthrough' for Amnesty
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a member of the Senate’s immigration “Gang of Eight,” let slip in an interview with the Arizona Republic exactly what House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) plans to do to sneak amnesty past the House GOP conference.
Flake said a select, small group of House Republicans like Ryan and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) plan to create a different pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants in America than the Senate’s pathway to citizenship. Ryan is writing a bill that would legalize the status of America’s illegal aliens, and now Flake has publicly exposed exactly what it will be.
“It still won’t prohibit those who are here illegally now from getting on some sort of track that already exists,” Flake said in an interview with the Arizona Republic's Dan Nowicki. “It just wouldn’t create a special path like we did in the Senate bill. We think that that would be acceptable to the Senate Democrats.”
This new pathway to legalization would of course then fit into the House GOP establishment’s plans to try to save the Senate bill via a conference committee. Last July, Ryan told a town hall in his district that he plans to try to pass a group of piecemeal immigration bills to eventually get to a conference committee with the Senate bill. "A lot of people are saying, just pass the Senate bill," Ryan said then. "That's not what the House is going to do. I think we can make it better.”
Nowicki noted that Ryan and Diaz-Balart “are among the House GOP lawmakers who have been exploring the idea, which Flake generally explained would allow ‘dreamers,’ the young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, and certain categories of farmworkers to seek citizenship. But others in the undocumented population could work toward citizenship through existing channels, such as having their children or employers sponsor them.”
Flake also told Nowicki that he thinks the corporate lobbying campaign for amnesty last week by groups funded by liberal billionaire George Soros and corporate CEOs was effective and has increased the probability House Republicans will pass a series of piecemeal immigration bills to head to conference with the Senate bill.
“From those I’ve been talking to, I think that we’ve got a good shot at a breakthrough there,” Flake said. “The House can move this as fast as they want if they decide to do this. There is time and space on the calendar between now and the end of the year, if we decide we can do it.”
Flake served in the House for 12 years before being elected to the Senate last year; Nowicki noted that Flake “still has close ties to many House Republicans” and may know what is happening on the other side of Capitol Hill. If Ryan’s new pathway to legalization ends up passing the House, it will most likely be used in an effort to save the Senate bill via a conference committee.
As Breitbart News has reported, House GOP leadership has been planning an effort to try to save the Senate bill by using a series of legislative procedural tricks via what is known as a conference committee. The House leadership plans to pass a series of piecemeal, or step-by-step, immigration bills, then take them to conference with the Senate bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that if the House GOP goes to conference with the Senate bill, the Senate Democrats would “win.” As such, Gang of Eight member Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and pro-amnesty Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have endorsed the House GOP leadership’s piecemeal immigration approach with the goal of getting to a conference committee. Gang of Eight member Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has publicly pleaded with left-wing activists at the Center for American Progress (CAP) to get lawmakers to a conference committee any way they can.
Janet Murguia, the president of the National Council of La Raza, told the Associated Press this summer that her left-wing organization wants a conference committee. “There’s a lot of different ways they can get to an outcome on immigration reform and the fact is we can't pretend to be able to control the process,” Murguia said this summer. “But what we can say is that we want a vote. Just vote on something."
"We know that if there is a bill that is voted on in the House of Representatives it will be conferenced with the Senate bill, so just vote on something and let the conference be the place where we can negotiate the differences," she explained. "But for us, give us a vote. We deserve a vote.”
House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) have publicly left the door open to going to conference with the Senate bill, as has House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) has called on Boehner to publicly oppose a conference committee with the Senate bill. Several GOP congressmen like Reps. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Pete Olson (R-TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), and others have publicly opposed conference committee with the Senate bill. Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) similarly laid out their opposition to conference committee with the Senate bill in an op-ed for Breitbart News, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has called on Boehner to publicly oppose conference with the Senate bill. Even Gang of Eight member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has come out in public opposition to a conference committee with the Senate bill.