Election results in November that emboldened the House Republican majority and delivered the U.S. Senate majority to the GOP be damned, House Speaker John Boehner is desperately turning to the Democrats to pass his omnibus bill that enables President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty.
The full bill, the text of which was publicly introduced at about 8:20 p.m. on Tuesday after congressional leaders missed several self-set deadlines throughout the day, is 1,603 pages long. That means it will be impossible for any member of the House or Senate to read the entire bill before voting on it this week.
The pure numbers in Congress suggest Boehner can’t get enough Republicans to pass his executive amnesty omnibus, something even his top lieutenants have admitted in recent days.
There are 435 members of the House, and to pass this bill, Boehner and his allies–including Louisiana’s Republican Whip Steve Scalise and California’s Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy–need to get 218 votes. There are 234 Republicans in the House as the 113th Congress finishes its final days of the lame duck post-election session, meaning Boehner could theoretically pass a bill that all Republicans agree with.
But according to Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon, a conservative, there are at least 50 Republicans–probably more–who won’t vote for this bill. If even 18 Republicans vote against the bill, that means Boehner needs Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenant Steny Hoyer to get to 218. Salmon is not optimistic the number of Republicans in opposition will reach the number of Democrats voting for this bill at this time. Yet since there are so many liberal parts of the bill, once the text is introduced, anything can happen.
“I think the number is over 50 that will vote against it but it doesn’t matter because there is going to be over 50 Democrats who vote for it,” Salmon said on Tuesday, while calling Boehner’s strategy cowardly.
Boehner will need to lean extra heavily on Pelosi and Hoyer for a bailout, however, as conservatives aren’t relenting. Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), who was just elected to the House after beating now former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary, is leading a last-ditch effort to stop amnesty via the omnibus. He’s pushing an amendment with support from several House conservatives that would be added to the bill before it hits the floor–unless House Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) blocks the amendment, something that would surely spark substantial grassroots outrage against him in his conservative Texas district.
Widespread public opposition across the country to what Congress is about to do on a number of fronts, especially Boehner’s backing of Obama’s executive amnesty with an open checkbook and no plans in the future to block its funding, has held up the deal in recent days. The bill’s text was supposed to come out Monday sometime, then Tuesday morning–but it has been held up in behind-closed-doors negotiations.
Now that it’s finally here, the text shows the bill is more 1,600 pages and funds Obama’s executive amnesty and costs taxpayers $1.1 trillion. It also splits Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding off from the rest of government until Feb. 27 at least, at which time Republican establishment leaders are expected to fund all of Obama’s amnesty for the rest of the year. That plan to not actually fight Obama’s amnesty on must-pass legislation was confirmed by House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul on Tuesday, who said leadership is planning to split the amnesty fight off then into a separate authorization bill even he conceded would be easily vetoed by Obama.
Since the government technically runs out of money as of midnight on Thursday and will shut down if Congress doesn’t act, House and Senate leaders are planning on sending an emergency “very short term” Continuing Resolution to fund the government for an extra few days so the Senate can vote after the House does.
Conservatives say any Republican who opposes Obama’s executive amnesty should block the “very short term”–and the overall omnibus–if GOP leaders won’t stop Obama’s executive amnesty.
“The entire purpose of this 48-hour CR is to fund amnesty in the long term bill,” Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz told Breitbart News. “No Republican who has pledged to block amnesty can, in good conscience, support the short-term bill unless there is a commitment from leadership to defund amnesty in the long-term bill.”
The House is expected to vote on the bill either late Wednesday or sometime on Thursday–allowing the Senate to act shortly thereafter. Since the legislation is expected to be so voluminous, probably several thousand pages long, no lawmaker will have actually read the entire bill in either the House or the Senate before voting on it.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a likely 2016 presidential candidate and the frontrunner in some early polls, says he’ll be voting against this “abomination” of a bill–and urged all Republicans to oppose it.
“I’ll vote no to any kind of 2,000-page bill that I’m given at the last minute that we don’t have time to read. It’s an abomination, nobody should support a Congress that stuffs all the spending into one bill, nobody reads it, there are no reforms, no amendments, and it really is probably why Congress has about a 10% approval rate because this is not doing our job,” Paul said on Laura Ingraham’s radio program on Tuesday.
Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, said on his radio program that if Republicans vote for this cave-in to outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Obama, it will give Obama and the Democrats the upper hand in negotiations over the last two years of Obama’s term in negotiations–even though Republicans just won all of Congress in the midterm elections. “I think this is probably a preview of coming attractions, which is sad,” Hannity said.