Capitol Hill conservatives are confused and ticked off by House leadership’s quick dismissal of an amendment to the Pentagon’s budget that aimed to end President Barack Obama’s exploitation of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program. He’s been using that program to give illegal aliens and their families safe harbor.
“It’s time that we stop playing politics with the Defense Authorization and ensure that a provision meant to allow military readiness isn’t hijacked in order to provide backdoor amnesty to DACA aliens,” said Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R.-Ariz.). The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is President Barack Obama’s program, executed without congressional approval, which grants amnesty to aliens who claim they came to America as children.
Military recruiters routinely allow illegal aliens into the military, who then receive their green cards upon completion of their initial training and proceed to regular service in either the active-duty or reserve components.
The trick to the Gosar Amendment was that it would have required inductees to have legal status in order to participate in MAVNI—a requirement that while consistent with current law and stated procedures—was so antithetical to how the program is run it was considered the equivalent killing the program.
Gosar said he has not given up.
“While we are disappointed by the decision from the Rules Committee to not make the amendment in order, we are actively pursuing other avenues to achieve the same policy objective,” he said. “We are confident that this amendment will ultimately receive a vote on the House floor in the near future.”
Knocking down the Gosar Amendment goes against promises by Speaker Paul D. Ryan to open up the legislative process when he took the gavel in October.
Less than a week after becoming the speaker, Ryan bragged that he led the passage of a $300 billion highway bill that he said was his model of the open amendment process.
“Over these last four days, the House has debated more amendments than in the last four months combined. On this bill, Chairman Shuster worked through more than 100 amendments on the floor,” the speaker said. “I wanted to have a process that is more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Fast forward from Ryan’s first week to the events of before the May 18 House passage of the Pentagon budget.
Because Gosar is not a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he could not offer an amendment in committee, so he had to wait until the bill came to the House floor. But, under Speaker Ryan, members are not allowed to make motions on the floor. Instead, amendments are submitted to the House Rules Committee, chaired by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), a Ryan ally.
It is impossible to separate the Rules Committee from the speaker. It is often known as “The Speaker’s Committee,” and its chairman and members on the majority side serve at the pleasure of the speaker. There are other leaders and other committees, but it is through the Rules Committee that the speaker controls the House.
One member of the House Armed Services Committee told Breitbart News that one reason the Gosar Amendment was spiked was pressure from the White House on the committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX). “The chairman supported removing controversial issues outside the core capability to ensure that the military is funded.”
Two days before the defense budget passed the House, the White House issued a 17-page veto threat message that catalogs the president’s issues with the House’s blueprint for fiscal year 2017. The MAVNI program was not part of the veto threat, but it was seen as just one more complication.
Many Republicans on Armed Services, not just the chairman, are looking to get the budget passed without an interruption to ongoing operations and without a further degradation of capabilities, facilities and resources.
“Sadly, open border advocates have once again put politics ahead of the needs of our men and women in uniform in attempting to enact President Obama’s lawless immigration agenda,” he said. “There is no labor shortage and we are in the midst of eliminating 160,000 uniformed personnel positions over a nine-year stretch. Given this fact, it is wrong for the Obama Administration to prioritize enlisting illegal immigrants over Americans and legal immigrants that want to serve our nation.”
Gosar, a practicing dentist, filed his amendment that would have eliminated the MAVNI program by formally banning the military recruiters of waving through illegal aliens.
The MAVNI program was sold to Congress a way to recruit highly skilled foreigners into the military and the vast majority of participants are interpreters. The program is an important tool for military leaders seeking lawyers, doctors or other professionals.
However, in the real-life working of MAVNI program, recruits are being brought in to serve as plumbers, truck drivers and even without any designation for future training or job specialty at all.
One member of the House Homeland Security Committee and a co-sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Louis Barletta (R-PA) said two things bother him most about the MAVNI program.
“We have immigration laws in this country for two reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs. Allowing illegal immigrants to serve in our military violates both of those principles,” he said. “The United States military is the last place the Obama Administration should be trying to inject its immigration politics.”