House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) said that a promise Majority Leader Eric Cantor made last year is a major force behind the push to grant amnesty to illegal alien DREAMers who enlist in the military.
Cantor “made a pledge that he would help” Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) enact the proposal, McKeon said at a roundtable on Thursday morning in Washington, D.C.
As reported last week by Breitbart News, House Republicans had been quietly working working to insert the text of the proposal into an related Defense authorization bill, but after the issue became public McKeon announced he would not include it bill as introduced.
Denham, a sophomore Republican who represents California’s central valley, has been leading the push for the provision, which he has introduced as a stand-alone bill called the “ENLIST Act.” Denham’s wingman, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), is working to facilitate the push in the Armed Services Committee, of which Denham is not a member.
Cantor’s pledge stems from Denham’s effort to offer the proposal as an amendment to the 2013 version of the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment cleared the House Rules Committee and was set for a House vote before Cantor asked Denham to back down after a dramatic floor struggle with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
Goodlatte, whose committee has jurisdiction over immigration matters, has not weighed in publicly on the effort this year beyond telling Breitbart News “we’re working on it.”
Last week, after Denham said Cantor was “very” supportive of his efforts, a Cantor aide said “This policy issue is still being discussed at the committee level, and no commitments have been made on a path forward or the process if it were to move forward.”
But according to McKeon, Cantor did make a commitment to at least help Denham’s push.
McKeon is a cosponsor of the individual Denham bill in question, despite dealing it a serious blow in his decision not to include it in the base NDAA text.
The Associated Press noted that McKeon’s statement last week hardly means Denham’s effort to insert amnesty into the NDAA is dead. It could, the AP wrote, come back to life as an amendment to the NDAA on the House floor. That’s especially so if Cantor is supporting it in line with his pledge.
“McKeon issued a statement last week saying the immigration measure wouldn’t be in his core committee bill,” the AP wrote. “However, that doesn’t preclude an effort to force a vote in the full House on what might be the only immigration vote this election year.”
If this fight does indeed happen–either during the Armed Services committee markup process of NDAA, or the larger floor fight–there is sure to be a bloody battle.
“It is unconscionable that we would even consider allowing illegal immigrants to join our military when we have veterans – who have honorably served and defended our nation in combat and seek to continue doing so – that are being told that their service is no longer needed as we reduce the size of our force,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, told Breitbart News.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), another anti-amnesty Republican on Armed Services, told the Associated Press that “all hell will break loose” if the provision is inserted in the bill. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is not a member of the Armed Services panel, said he thinks “this place blows up” if the effort proceeds, with fights between its supporters and opponents at every opportunity.