LIVE UPDATES: Pete Sessions’ Rules Committee Takes Up Defense Bill With Amnesty Inside It

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Breitbart News team on Capitol Hill is bringing Americans the latest news on yet another attempt to sneak amnesty into legislation. Live updates are below. 

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 6:25 PM: The House Rules Committee has moved on from the NDAA onto general debate on the Freedom Act from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and will soon move on to the Pain Capable Anti-Abortion Act. While several members of the House Rules Committee and others present referenced a series of amendments which will be considered in Wednesday’s Rules Committee in-depth consideration of the NDAA, none of the Republicans who claim they are opposed to the amnesty contained within the NDAA, including Sessions and Thornberry, mention specifically the amnesty contained within the NDAA. In addition, spokespersons for all three members of House GOP leadership — Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise — have not immediately responded to requests for comment on where they stand on using America’s military to grant illegal aliens amnesty, or legislatively institutionalize President Obama’s executive amnesty, as the NDAA in its current form does.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 6:21 PM: Katrina Pierson, the Tea Party activist who ran against Chairman Sessions last cycle and is considering another run against him in the 2016 primary, emailed to Breitbart News to indicate her disgust with Sessions’ lackluster opposition thus far to the amnesty wrapped up inside the NDAA.

“Congressman Pete Sessions uses his position as committee chair to work against the party’s platform and against his own constituents,” Pierson said in an email. “We have witnessed his blatant disregard for the constitution in order to serve corporatism to his personal benefit. First, by issuing the unanimous consent to usher in Obamacare, and now we watch as he attempts to maneuver similar tactics to force amnesty which every Republican candidate opposed in the midterm elections by campaigning to the base which vehemently opposes further disregard for the law.”

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 6:13 PM: Cole, Boehner’s friend, is guest-chairing the NDAA hearing now. Also, Flashback: Reps. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) laid out in early May how this NDAA amnesty plan from Rep. Gallego–which is currently being moved forward by GOP leadership in the Rules Committee–would help give illegal aliens a leg up over Americans.

“With passage of this amendment, a majority on the Armed Services Committee urged the Secretary of Defense to hire DACA illegal immigrants, rather than American citizens, at the same time the Pentagon is in the process of laying off tens of thousands of American troops,” Brat and Brooks said in a joint statement. “According to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, the active Army will be cut by and/or lay off more than 80,000 uniformed personnel by the end of fiscal year 2017. Further, competition for enlistment is so challenging that American high-school graduates now face, ‘more difficulty qualifying for the armed services than ever in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force.’”

Brat and Brooks questioned Armed Services Committee members on why they seem to think illegal aliens are better than Americans.

“Do members of the House Armed Services Committee who voted for this amendment really believe that these are jobs Americans won’t do?” they asked. “It is unconscionable that certain members of Congress seek to use America’s military as a bargaining chip in a bid to cement the president’s unconstitutional amnesty actions – adding the amendment to the ‘must pass’ National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that is intended to authorize essential programs for our military. We can’t speak for other Congressmen, but, as for ourselves, we were elected to promote and protect the interests of American citizens, not illegal immigrants.”

Read the full Brat-Brooks statement here.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:58 PM: Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz told Breitbart News that he is appalled Republicans in the House are even considering using America’s military to amnesty illegal aliens.

“The notion that Republicans are going to allow Obama to enroll illegal immigrants in our military at a time when terror cells are trying to threaten our military installations is beyond comprehension,” Horowitz said in an email. “With the exceedingly high rate of approval for DACA applications it is clear that Obama has not properly vetted these applicants. Many DACA recipients have already been arrested for committing crimes. Moreover, it is fundamentally unfair to use our military as a visa mill for a program that is clearly unconstitutional.”

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:56 PM: House Rules Committee member Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) said he expects a “robust” debate on amendments to the NDAA on Wednesday — a list of amendments that will include Brooks’ own to get the amnesty out of the NDAA — but he does expect President Obama to sign the version of the NDAA before the House Rules Committee right now, containing the amnesty, into law.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:41 PM: Flashback — Earlier this month, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) hammered his Democratic colleagues — and the few Republicans who backed the NDAA amnesty provisions — meaning, they are using America’s military “as a pawn” to “advance President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty.”

“I am outraged that our military is being used as a pawn by certain members of Congress to advance President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty,” Gosar said. “The House has voted multiple times against this lawlessness and illegal amnesty controversies should not jeopardize the funding for our brave men and women in uniform. If implemented, such actions would further reduce opportunities for lawful American citizens who wish to serve at a time when the Pentagon is dramatically downsizing our total number of troops. Members of the Armed Services proudly join the military to defend our liberties, to protect the American people and to enforce the rule of law. Upon entering the United States, illegal immigrants already broke the rule of law and many only wish to serve to obtain permanent resident status. If this language is left in the NDAA, it potentially jeopardizes passage of this critical legislation. The last place an immigration debate should occur is in the Defense Authorization Act that provides funding for our troops.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:38 PM: Readers who wish to watch the hearing can do so here:

Members like Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner’s, are questioning members on details about the NDAA that have nothing to do with the amnesty inside the bill from Rep. Gallego’s Democratic amendment. Breitbart News has asked Boehner’s office if he stands with Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Thornberry’s request for members to back Brooks’ amendment to strip the Gallego amnesty from the NDAA–and will update if and when Boehner’s office answers the question.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:23 PM: In his opening statement before the committee — despite the fact House Armed Services Committee spokesman Claude Chafin says he’s opposed to Gallego’s amnesty amendment and supports the Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) amendment to remove it from the NDAA — committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) made no mention whatsoever of the problematic amnesty amendment from Gallego in his comments.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:19 PM: Chairman Pete Sessions has called the hearing to order, and kicked it off, noting that specific amendments on the NDAA will be considered at Wednesday’s hearing.

UPDATE, by Matthew Boyle, 5:11 PM: Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Harry Soyster says that the amnesty amendment from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) compromises enlistment policies of the United States Armed Forces.

“The standards to enter today’s military are rigorous and should not be subject to compromise. With the many threats posed around the world that our armed forces are obliged to meet to keep Americans safe, enlistment programs are not the place to try to enact social policies or achieve political goal,” Soyster, now on the board of the Center For Immigration Studies, said. “It also is not fair to our serving soldiers and veterans who have met the standards and exceeded our expectations in repeated deployments in defense of their country.”