Buyer’s Remorse? National Review Slams Omnibus After Backing Paul Ryan As Speaker

The editors of National Review are slamming House Speaker Paul Ryan for pushing his omnibus spending bill through Congress.

The editors’ rebuke of Ryan–in which they accuse him of having far different priorities than GOP voters–comes just two months after the publication endorsed Ryan for Speaker and, in so doing, helped place a man with a two-decade long history of pushing open border immigration policies in charge of the GOP conference.

National Review’s editors write, “About the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the president on Friday, we have only one question: What were Republican leaders thinking?”

“Republican voters are anxious about large-scale immigration and frustrated that the federal government repeatedly demonstrates no interest in doing anything about it,” the editors add. “Yet instead of responding to those concerns, Republicans sent the president a bill that will exacerbate them.”

Specifically, the editors were critical of the provision in the omnibus which would quadruple the cap on H-2B visas for foreigners seeking blue-collar jobs, stating, “It would be bad enough had Republicans merely acquiesced to foolish policies, but in this bill they actively advanced them. The bill’s most egregious proposal will temporarily expand the H-2B visa program.”

The editors were equally disappointed by the bill’s funding of sanctuary cities and refugee resettlement.

“Given that 9 out of 10 Americans want immigration levels either kept where they are or reduced,” the editors explain, “Republican leaders should be attempting to halt illegal immigration, reduce legal immigration… But this omnibus bill is a clear indication that Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have other priorities.”

Additionally, the legislation also funded the resettlement of illegal aliens arriving at border within United States, and failed to mandate funding for the never-constructed 700-mile double-layer border fence mandated by the 2006 Secure Fence Act. Despite the Secure Fence Act’s passage nearly a decade ago, funding for the project was gutted– leaving the construction of the 700-mile double-layer fence uncompleted.

The condemnation of Paul Ryan’s first major legislative achievement as Speaker seems surprising given the editors’ endorsement of Paul Ryan just two months ago. At that time, the editors wrote:

Although he has sided with leadership in tactical disputes in recent years, he has consistently pushed the envelope on substance, understanding that the party needs a serious policy agenda to counter that of the Left. He is a knowledgeable and effective defender of conservative policy. Sometimes we think he is wrong on both substantive and tactical matters, but we never doubt that he is wrong for the right reasons. For these reasons, Ryan is trusted by most House Republicans, whatever their opinion of the Boehner era.

As Breitbart News reported at the time, Ryan’s history of pushing for expansive immigration policies made outcomes like year-end funding bill eminently predictable. On October 10th, Breitbart reported:

Ironically, despite the fact that Paul Ryan is diametrically opposed to the National Review on the critical issue of immigration, the publication has since endorsed his run for Speaker of the House. In an editorial yesterday, the publication made a veiled allusion to Ryan’s support for open-borders, writing that “He [Ryan] would have to commit to keeping immigration legislation that most Republicans oppose off the floor, whatever his own opinion of it. In effect, National Review is arguing that their own preferred pick for House Speaker should remain silent on one of the most important issues facing the country. The publication doesn’t even consider the possibility of choosing a Speaker candidate who would make an affirmative case for restoring U.S. sovereignty, protecting American workers, and going out to media to stand up for the interests of blue-collar wage earners who are hurt by uncontrolled immigration. What’s more, National Review seems unconcerned that Paul Ryan as Speaker would not only mean that conservatives may have to fight to stop bad immigration legislation from passing, but it will also likely ensure that popular immigration enforcement measures (such as blocking welfare for illegal immigrants) will not move through the House.

In an October 11 article, prior to the Speaker’s election and weeks before the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks, Breitbart reported that a Paul Ryan Speakership would likely mean that priorities, such as those outlined in Brian Babin’s proposal to halt refugee resettlement, would never be advanced:

House conservatives would have as much, if not more, to fear from Ryan as Pelosi in terms of striking a deal to advance amnesty and immigration-expansions on the House floor… conservative lawmakers will be blocked from any attempt to advance legislative campaigns to curb immigration or to coordinate any public messaging designed to give voice to the concerns of working class Americans whose schoolhouses, jobsites and emergency rooms have been transformed by massive immigration.

For instance, Congressman Brian Babin recently offered legislation to halt all refugee resettlement – a bill sponsored by Rules Chairman Pete Sessions and Homeland Chairman Michael McCaul. Such a bill might never be brought to the floor under a Ryan Speakership. Nor would a plethora of enforcement ideas developed by anti-amnesty lawmakers including Mo Brooks, Steve King, Dave Brat, [Louie] Gohmert, Duncan Hunter, John Fleming, and Marsha Blackburn.

Yet many are pushing Ryan to grab the gavel.For instance… National Review… [has] endorsed Ryan for speaker.

Thus by boosting a Ryan speakership, the National Review helped to install as Speaker, a man who would be able to lock-in President Obama’s immigration policies in a way that John Boehner never could have accomplished.

As several other news outlets have speculated, if Boehner had attempted to pass the omnibus proposal Ryan successfully pushed Congress, he would have faced fierce opposition from House conservatives– in contrast to the muted opposition that was widely reported to Ryan’s bill.

For instance, Talking Points Memo wrote, “The rabble-rousing conservatives who were such a problem for former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are giving new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) the benefit of the doubt on the year-end funding package… Under Boehner, 11th hour budget negotiations all but guaranteed intra-party fireworks in the GOP conference… But this time, members are giving Ryan a break.”

Indeed Paul Ryan is perhaps more closely associated with the donor-class agenda on trade and immigration than John Boehner and is in a better position to sell that agenda than Boehner ever was. This is not dissimilar to how Marco Rubio was able to provide for the Gang of Eight what John McCain never could– namely, Rubio provided a fresh young face to the donor class’ plan to implement unprecedented immigration expansions. Rubio was able to usher the bill through the Senate whereas John McCain and Lindsey Graham failed to do so in 2007. Perhaps underscoring Rubio’s appeal as a candidate who can take the donor class’ policies, championed by Lindsey Graham and John McCain, but enact them in a way his seniors couldn’t– Rubio continues to rack up endorsements of wealthy GOP donors. Earlier this week, Rubio won the support of GOP donor, Larry Nichols. Rubio also has the backing of Paul Singer, Norman Braman, Larry Ellison, Frank VanderSloot, and Pepe Fanjul Jr., who all support more expansive immigration policies.

As Rush Limbaugh has previously predicted, should Rubio win the White House and Ryan remain Speaker of the House, within “first 12-to-18 months [of their administration], the donor-class agenda is implemented, including amnesty and whatever else they want.”

Ironically, the donor-class’ expansionist immigration agenda– championed by Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio– will likely undermine the middle-aged lawmakers’ espoused desire to rein in the federal government, cut taxes, and tinker with entitlements. As the National Review has documented in the past, liberal-leaning migrant voters would likely cancel out the votes of conservative constituents– not to mention National Review’s readers. As Rich Lowry wrote in 2004:

Outside the merits of the immigration issue– its costs, its implications for security and national cohesion– the partisan dynamic is clear: Higher levels of Latin American immigration benefit the Democrats, while digging an ever-deeper demographic hole for Republicans. Pro-immigration conservatives fool themselves into believing that being pro-immigration will make it possible for the GOP to convert large numbers of Hispanic voters to their side. This is a party strategy that could have been crafted in Oregon, since it amounts to a kind of partisan assisted suicide.


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