Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) told Breitbart News that he and many other conservative members of the House GOP conference believe that if House Speaker John Boehner tries to salvage the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill in conference, it would be at his own peril.
“I think it will blow up in his face,” Stockman said in a phone interview of a such a move.
Stockman referenced the recent two-hour-long House GOP conference meeting last week, where members voiced their concerns on the Senate bill. “One of the congressmen had his phone on, called a reporter, and it was being broadcast to other reporters – live,” Stockman said, noting how the members in the rank and file in the House GOP conference have so much disdain for the Senate bill and any efforts to push it. “Then they were like ‘somebody’s got a cell phone on – turn it off now!’ I was stunned. I was like, ‘man, am I glad I didn’t get up and talk.'”
Stockman said the mood in the room was almost universally united against the Senate bill, and equally skeptical of promises various House GOP leaders have made. “I think there was a general consensus that there is a concern that the leadership is going to turn and try to cut a deal with the Senate,” he said. “Overall, though, I don’t think there’s stomach for the Senate bill and they want to see border security first.”
Stockman is not entirely sure if Boehner would cut a deal with the Senate, but warns there would be dire consequences if he did. “I’ll tell you what, if he did that after this meeting where he tried to reassure that he wouldn’t do that, I’ll tell you what, there would be a huge rebellion.”
When asked if Boehner remains the Speaker if he cuts an amnesty deal with the Senate, Stockman pointed to comments from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). “I think it was Dana Rohrabacher who said he [Boehner] would lose it [his job] if he did that,” Stockman said. “That’s a pretty serious charge from an established long-term incumbent. I think that would make someone think twice before doing something, passing something.”
Overall, Stockman believes the predicate for this whole debate, an argument that the GOP must grant amnesty to America’s illegal aliens to garner Hispanic votes and survive as a party, is phony. “The argument that Hispanics are going to immediately turn into Republicans, and save the electoral map, is absurd,” he said.
Stockman made news last week when he led a charge, backed by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), to argue the Senate bill is unconstitutional because it raises federal revenue and originates in the Senate. The U.S. Constitution’s “origination clause” requires that any bill that raises revenue originate in the House, as the Founding Fathers believes the lower chamber of Congress was more accountable to the American people as elections for U.S. Representative positions occur every two years.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has still not sent the bill, which passed the Senate more than two weeks ago, to the House. Stockman said that is an “admission” by Reid that the bill is unconstitutional, and Reid is refusing to send it to the House because House GOP leadership could “blue slip” it, or completely discard it on the grounds it is unconstitutional for raising revenues and originating in the Senate.
“We think that by Harry Reid not sending it over he’s admitting that it’s unconstitutional,” Stockman told Breitbart News.
Stockman warns House GOP leadership that they should not even try to salvage the Senate bill whatsoever on the grounds that doing so would be bailing Reid out of unconstitutional legislation. “We’re appeasing the senators if we do this,” he said. “We’d be changing topics from Benghazi and IRS if we did that. In terms of marketing and strategy, I don’t understand the logic behind changing the topics. We ought to keep it on message.”
If House GOP leaders stand strong, and kill the bill without attempting to salvage it in conference, Stockman believes one could argue Republicans actually would have turned the whole immigration debate on its head. “I think you could argue that, that by putting the taxes in they [the Democrats] are the ones that killed it,” Stockman said. “But what’s amazing to me is Harry Reid is silent.”
Stockman believes this could all backfire on Obama. “Obama has become impotent overseas and now he is becoming impotent here,” he said. “His agenda is failing.”