Two of the most prominent CEOs that have been lobbying Congress for immigration reform and amnesty legislation indicated on Monday this Congress’s final act could be passing sweeping amnesty legislation in the lame-duck session.
At a panel on the economy and infrastructure investment at the Newseum on Monday, Jay Timmons, the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which has lobbied extensively for amnesty legislation, and Tom Donohue, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, agreed that amnesty legislation could pass even after the November elections despite the August deadline that is being floated.
“I think it’ll happen in the lame-duck session as the final piece of legislation,” Timmons said.
Donohue, after saying that immigration reform was “doable” this year, said, “I think that too.” He then said that “would be the fallback position” even as he pressures Congress to pass legislation in the next three months that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers.
Even though an Eagle Forum report documented how mass immigration may doom a conservative Republican Party and a plurality of voters have indicated in two national polls that they would be “less likely” to vote for candidates who support amnesty, Donohue half-joked that Republicans were guaranteed to lose the White House again in 2016 if they don’t pass amnesty.
“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue said. “Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”
Donohue also said he tells people that if amnesty legislation does not pass, Americans will have to bring their parents back from retirement and nursing homes because there will be a labor shortage.
“You’re going to go in the nursing home and pick up your mother-in-law and bring her home,” he said.
Though an estimated 50 million working-age Americans are out of work, Timmons said that manufacturers have 600,000 jobs that are going unfilled and implied the only way to get those jobs filled would be to pass an immigration bill.
Timmons said passing amnesty legislation was “an imperative” and “absolutely essential to manufacturers.” He said not passing immigration reform legislation would rip “apart the fabric of this nation and communities”
Republican leaders like GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) have suggested that they would try to get a bill on the floor by August while President Barack Obama has also said that there were two or three months left to pass immigration reform legislation. Pro-amnesty Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have said that this year is the last chance for amnesty legislation.
Donohue, whose group has vowed to spend millions more influencing legislators to pass amnesty legislation, said the Chamber of Commerce will continue to ramp up the pressure for sweeping immigration reform legislation this year.
“We’ve got a lot of heat on that, and we’re going to put a lot more,” Donohue said.