Republicans will destroy their base of political support if they help pass a “crappy” amnesty bill, said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) on Wednesday.
Gosar, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, remarks came in an interview with Breitbart News’s Senior Editors-at-Large Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had previously pushed amnesty via the “Gang of Eight” bill under the guise of “comprehensive immigration reform,” noted Gosar, casting doubt on Ryan’s positioning on ongoing amnesty-related negotiations. Mansour asked him why Ryan is not pushing an opening offer on the “DACA deal” with the GOP’s “strongest position.” Partial transcript below:
MANSOUR: It seems as if [the Freedom Caucus] is trying to ask Speaker Ryan to introduce the strongest position that we have on this DACA deal. If the president really wants it — and the president is pushing for it — okay, we gotta have this amnesty, then at least let’s hold the line and have an amnesty that’s not just a total giveaway. Let’s at least get something big out of it, which is what this Goodlatte bill [does]. And we’ve talked with everybody about this [bill] — at least it ends chain migration; at least it puts in a mandatory E-Verify; at least it gives these really crucial things that we’ve been fighting for. I don’t understand, you explain to me, why is Speaker Ryan not doing this? Because it seems like a really sensible thing what you’re suggesting here.
GOSAR: Once again, you have to look back at the speaker. The speaker was one of the people behind closed doors trying to push the Gang of Eight, before. So, there’s some differences of opinion as to where the speaker actually stands. Now, he’s made promises openly, and Dave Brat — my good friend from Virginia, another Freedom Caucus member — has reiterated over and over again the promises that [Paul Ryan] made that a DACA fix had to have a majority of the Republican House Conference before it could go to the floor and that it wouldn’t be tied to a spending bill. Over and over, they’ve reiterated it.
But as you know, trust is a series of promises kept. Why would we have trust in our leadership when we’ve seen this playbook over and over again, and seeing loss after loss after loss?
MANSOUR: The other thing I wanted to ask you, though, do you think Speaker Ryan understands that if we do a sort of giveaway with DACA — if we let the deadline go and we have that pressure in February when the spending bill comes back up again, and there’s this pressure to just, “Okay, we gotta throw in DACA, too” — doesn’t he understand that if you get an amnesty giveaway that is this weak, that’s just a total giveaway, that it’s really going to hurt the GOP in the midterm elections? Does he get that, do you think?
GOSAR: I don’t think it just hurts us, Rebecca, I think it destroys us because there’s no trust left in the base. Promises were made, and promises weren’t kept. Once again, trust is a series of promises kept. Why would our base trust us? So from that standpoint, I think there has to be. But also look at the telltale signs, you know, the report that was floated that this might be [Paul Ryan’s] last year. So if he gets what he wants, maybe he walks away, and no harm no foul, according to the way he looks at it.
Delineating between legal and illegal immigrants, Gosar described any amnesty as “victimizing” millions of prospective legal immigrants who wait for years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing lawful immigration options. Two weeks ago, he expressed opposition to any offering of citizenship to illegal aliens in the context of any amnesty.
“A little over 40 percent can’t even speak plausible English,” said Gosar of illegal immigrants eligible for DACA, alluding to a 2017 study from the Center for Immigration Studies. “If they really thought that this was their country of origin, why don’t they speak the language of opportunity, English, better?”
Senate Republican leadership, said Gosar, was evading responsibility for holding votes via “arcane rules” he described as “hurting the legislative process and the debate.” He further dubbed the upper legislative chamber a “do-nothing Senate.”
Citizens must put pressure on senators to affect change, advised Gosar: “That’s how you take this on and put a light on their faces. The way they’re doing it currently prohibits them from taking votes. That’s what they’ve been doing.”
“America’s going to find out where the real problem lies, and that’s the Senate,” said Gosar, advising House Republicans to “send over to the Senate” funding bills for the military and Department of Veterans Affairs in lieu of ongoing continuing resolutions.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said Gosar, is allowed to “manipulate the stage” while Senate Republicans refuse to adjust the Senate’s “arcane rules.” Partial transcript below:
MANSOUR: Do you think that the Democrats fear or respect GOP leaders in these negotiations, or are they just expecting that they’ll roll us in a couple of months when we have this discussion again on DACA?
GOSAR: Well, obviously they don’t respect the Republicans. Look at the Senate. Here we have arcane rules that we stand behind because we won’t even make a mention to actually make, like the Senate, when they don’t, the minority requiring thirty hours for a nominee. Roll out the cots, bring out the IVs, bring the doctors in, make the old codgers in the Senate go 24/7 until you break their habits. Take away the new interpretation of the filibuster rule, require that a quorum be present, and then make them stay on the floor and actually debate it.
There’s a lot of ways to fight this, but there’s got to be eagerness to participate in getting back to the way the people need to hear. They need to hear the discussion. They need to take names and get addresses. Once again, we’re being dictated and rolled by Senate rules that don’t work and by leadership that frankly allows Chuck Schumer, just like Harry Reid, to manipulate the stage.
“Stand for something, or fall for everything,” said Gosar, calling for a separation of military funding from other appropriations: “We’ve got to break this holding of our military hostage over DACA and discretionary spending. Break it, and break it, now.”
Continuing resolutions compromise military readiness, said Gosar: “Defense hawks are tired of doing CR to CR, they’re seeing men and women losing their lives in training and exercises around the world. We’re seeing aircraft that’s being hobbled together; it’s been not maintained. So they want to see that rebuilding the military is given a priority, and you don’t do it with CR after CR after CR.”
“I haven’t seen a Republican budget since I’ve been here,” said Gosar of ongoing GOP support for continuing resolutions in lieu of budgets.
Republicans must reject “government shutdown” narratives pushed by Democrats and their news media allies, said Gosar in an earlier interview with Breitbart News Tonight. Failure to pass a budget or continuing resolution by the deadline of a previous budget or continuing resolution, he said, amounts to a “slowing down” of certain federal government operations:
We’ve seen this record play over and over again, and that is, “Oh, we’ve got to pass a spending bill. We can’t shut down the government.” Most people don’t realize that we’re really not shutting down the government, but slowing down parts of it. Medicare, Social Security, those pensions, those are already paid for. So from the standpoint of essential services, now we’ve got the Oval Office. We can actually mitigate that and start breaking this apart.
President Donald Trump has the discretion to define which federal government operations are defined as “essential services” receiving funding throughout a “government shutdown,” said Gosar:
The president has a lot of cheese here … If Congress can’t get their act together, what he can do is, he can deem anything an essential service and go on paying them as he sees fit because of the security of this country, whether it be Homeland Security or our military, the FBI … and make Congress suffer the consequences, where they’re not getting paid. When the government’s not in session, the private sector and the American economy benefits to a big degree.
“Why do I have to waste twenty cents out of every dollar to have a strong military?” asked Gosar, challenging Democrats’ calls for parity between increases in military and non-military spending. “When the public hears that, they’re incensed.”
“I hope people really sound off and start calling their Members of Congress,” said Gosar, warning of amnesty’s demographic political consequences. “You open up the chain migration … it’s over. As the communications director for Hillary Clinton said, they need these voters, and if they get these voters, they’re definitely not voting conservative. They’re not voting Republican. They’re voting Democrat, progressive, Bernie Sanders.”
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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.