After Tea Partiers in Florida protested at the home state offices of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday at an event organized by Tea Party Patriots, Rubio quickly, but largely unsuccessfully, tried to reaffirm his commitments to conservative principles when it comes to the immigration fight.
The group of Tea Party conservatives was protesting Rubio for his part in the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” pushing immigration reform and argued in a press release over the weekend he is the “star spokesman for a secretive, small group working on a bill that purports to address illegal immigration and the entire US immigration system as a whole.”
“Not only might the legislation be bad policy, it has already gone outside of the normal process,” the Tea Party group wrote in the release.
After the protests themed around how some normally conservative senators needed a “DC Intervention” ended, Rubio fired off a letter to Tea Party Patriots members pleading with them for continued support. “Over the years, the Patriot movement and I have worked together on many causes and I want to respond personally to correct some misinformation regarding my involvement in the work to reform our country’s broken immigration system – misinformation that has prompted visits by some of you to my offices across Florida and in Washington,” Rubio wrote in a letter addressed “Dear Patriots.”
“First, there is absolutely no truth to the idea that I will support any immigration legislation that is rushed through Congress in typical Washington fashion,” Rubio wrote. “Already, I have fought and continue to fight to secure commitments for greater transparency through committee hearings and mark-up sessions that will allow senators on the Judiciary Committee ample opportunities to review and amend any immigration legislation before it is considered by the full Senate for additional debate and scrutiny. As a result, not only has the Judiciary Committee agreed to delay its first hearing on this issue, it has agreed to add an additional one next week.”
Tea Party Patriots co-founder and national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin told Breitbart News she was disappointed in Rubio’s letter response to the protests. “Sen. Rubio has quickly forgotten how the rest of the country views a 1,500-page bill that is deliberately being rushed through Congress,” Martin said. “He may be aware of details in the bill but the rest of the Senators, and certainly the American public, are not. He thinks he may be thoroughly educated on how the sweeping legislation will affect every facet of our lives, and on the consequences of his proposed changes, but he cannot be. It’s simply too large an undertaking for him to have already fully analyzed all of the ramifications of this bill.”
The legislation was originally supposed to be introduced on Tuesday, but as of the close of business, no bill has been filed. The bill is expected to be about 1,500 pages long. Originally, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) scheduled a single hearing for Wednesday afternoon on the legislation–just one day after its planned rollout. However, Leahy rescheduled the hearing, at which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is supposed to testify, for Friday.
After Monday’s Boston terror attack bombings, the senators postponed their scheduled Tuesday press conference at which they would tout the bill but still planned to file the bill. By the close of the business, they did not meet the deadline.
Martin said that “[a]ssuming the bill is released tomorrow, that gives us only 1 extra day for the hearing this week.”
“The other crumb they are throwing to placate us is the Judiciary Committee’s so very gracious agreement to add one additional hearing next week, as though that is enough time for the Senators to deliberatively review the bill and all of its potential consequences,” Martin added.
In his letter to Tea Party Patriots members, Rubio also wrote: “Immigration reform is a difficult issue. It represents the kind of broken government that Tea Party members across our country were fed up with in 2010, and an issue that inspired me to run in order to change the way Washington works.”
Martin took serious issue with that claim.
“Senator Rubio’s stated goals to change the way our government works – an entity that he acknowledges is broken – do not mention the constitutional basis of the bill or the fiscal impact of his version of Pelosi’s ‘pass it so we can find out what’s in it’ legislation,” Martin told Breitbart News. “Sen. Rubio needs to reevaluate his goals and how he hopes to achieve success. He must do this in order to ensure that his measurement of success is rooted in the constitutional principles that are the foundation of our country, and that whatever bill he passes does not drive our country into further debt.”
Photo: Tea Party Patriots/Facebook