On Tuesday, the Breitbart News team on Capitol Hill brought to light Congress’s efforts to allow illegal aliens to enlist in the U.S. military, endangering national security and shoving American citizens to the back of the line for the benefit of invaders. Today, the House Rules Committee will continue to debate this proposition. Live updates are below.
UPDATE, by Edwin Mora, 5:13 PM: Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) says it’s “ludicrous we’re using AUMF’s (Authorization for Use of Military Force) from 2001 to justify” Obama’s conflicts on immigration and amnesty.
UPDATE, by Edwin Mora, 4:51 PM: Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) asked: “Why are we talking about immigration when we’re dealing with a defense bill?”
He went on to echo other GOP lawmakers who commented on the Gallego amendment, saying the it “has nothing to do with defense.” The Gallego amendment “will jeopardize the entire bill,” he concluded.
UPDATE, by Edwin Mora, 4:42 PM: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) to Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): I disagree with your argument that “we lack enough Americans and lawful immigrants to meet” our military needs, adding that the “we are here to help U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants.”
UPDATE, by Alex Swoyer, 4:39 PM: Rep. Polis (D-CO) defended Gallego amendment: “This is really a job creator in the private sector.”
“There’s also a distinction about the quality of jobs,” he said.
The two Congressmen are arguing about whether the Gallego amendment would open up jobs in the private sector as illegals leave those positions, to join the military for citizenship under the Gallego amendment provision.
UPDATE, by Edwin Mora, 4:37 PM: Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) expressed support for the amendment proposed by his colleague Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) to strike the Gallego amnesty amendment in the 2016 NDAA, saying the “immigration issue doesn’t really belong” in the NDAA. The amnesty amendment does not benefit the military, he added.
UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 4:36 PM: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), a member of the House Rules Committee, said there “is nothing about the Gallego amendment that helps the military” adding that the NDAA is not the “place” for immigration to be debated. “The amendment does not belong in the bill in the first place,” Burgess said.
Chairman Sessions added that he’s heard views from lots of members on this.
Democratic Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) defended the amnesty amendment contained within NDAA from Gallego, saying it passed through regular order. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), a liberal Democrat from Colorado, is also defending it with the argument of “military readiness” arguing that somehow illegal aliens may be better than Americans serving in the military. “We need to have the very best men and women” serving in the military. He also argued incredulously that this would create jobs in the private sector.
UPDATE, by Alex Swoyer, 4:32 PM: Rep. Sessions says this issue must be debated.
Rep. Burgess said, “There is nothing of the Gallego amendment that helps the military. The amendment does not belong in this bill in the first place.”
UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 4:27 PM: Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) is now testifying in favor of the Brooks amendment. Brat won his election in 2014 thanks in large part to now former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor backing the exact same policy — amnesty for DREAMers in the NDAA — and Brat said that the defense bill should not be the place for immigration matters.
UPDATE, by Alex Swoyer, 3:53 PM: According to Politico Florida Playbook’s Marc Caputo on Wednesday morning, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)–a Republican–is pushing harder for even more amnesty in the NDAA than what Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) got in there. Curbelo is specifically pushing for an amendment from Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), the so-called ENLIST Act, into the bill.
“Curbelo’s one of a handful of Republicans still pushing for immigration reform. He hopes that the House Rules committee, perhaps at its meeting today, greenlights an effort to allow a vote on whether to amend Rep. Jeff Denham’s Enlist Act onto the National Defense Authorization Act,” Caputo wrote on Wednesday.”
UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 3:40 PM: Chairman Sessions announced his father, who served in the Air Force, is in the room.
“I think he knew I’d end up needing help today,” Sessions joked.
Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL), who voted against House Speaker John Boehner’s re-election at the beginning of this Congress and lost his slot on the Rules Committee because of it, is accompanying Sessions’ father in the back of the room.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a close ally and friend of Boehner, speaking to Sessions’ father, praised Sessions’ leadership as the chairman of the House Rules Committee.
UPDATE, by Alex Swoyer, 3:32 PM: The proposed changes to NDAA will cut military personnel by 20 percent while paving a way through a provision to add illegal immigrants to the armed forces.
UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 3:15 PM: Sessions said in his opening remarks that he “disagrees” with bringing “outside or ancillary issues” like immigration up in Armed Services Committee bills. He said he wants such legislation to be dealt with through the Judiciary Committee.
UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 3:13 PM: The House Rules Committee hearing on the amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)–which in its current form, cuts the number of military service positions and allows illegal aliens who have received President Obama’s first executive amnesty to serve–is beginning. Earlier today, before the hearing, Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) joined House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) as being supportive of an amendment from Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) that would strip amnesty language–that would encourage the Department of Defense to accept enlistments in the U.S. military from those who have received Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty–from the NDAA. The language was first inserted into the NDAA outside Thornberry’s control as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)–a liberal Democrat–got it into the bill via the amendment process during the House Armed Services Committee markup with the support of a handful of Republicans.
Now that Sessions and Thornberry support the Brooks amendment–thanks in large part to public pressure from Brooks, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) among other members and due to newfound sunlight thanks to Breitbart News and various grassroots organizations in the normally-ignored Rules Committee–it’s highly unlikely the final NDAA product. But the embarrassing process for GOP leadership–that they even ended up in this place to begin with–is yet another indicator of how thorny the issue of immigration is in House GOP circles.
Sessions, kicking off the hearing, noted that there’s a “packed house” in there, and hundreds of amendments have been submitted to the deal. Brooks’ is the key amendment.