GOP staffers and activists are rushing to find the political landmines buried by Democrat and Republican legislators in the seven-agency, $328 billion, 1,159-page 2019 spending bill before the House and Senate vote on the bill by the end of Thursday.
One draft of the legislation was released late Wednesday night, and a second draft appeared Thursday morning with an extra ten pages. Those ten pages included an expansion of the H-2B visa worker program favored by many Republicans and some Democrats.
House leaders promised a quick vote on the huge and complex legislation Thursday night, leaving the activists with very little time to organize protests against the potential giveaways.
The Senate’s GOP leaders promised a faster vote early Thursday afternoon.
The document has roughly 200 words per page — ensuring that a fast reader would need 40 hours just to reach to the end of the huge document, providing they did not stop to take notes, compare the text to existing laws, eat, or sleep.
Republicans say they are being railroaded by House Democrats — and also by the GOP supporters of the huge package. Rep. Tom Graves is a GOP member of the 17-person committee — but he was given just 30 minutes to check the fine print.
Here's my first look at the final conference report and supporting language. A total of 7 funding bills. With 30 minutes notice, I was allowed 1 hour to review and had to make a choice.
I could not sign off. pic.twitter.com/kwwmZwLFv8
— Tom Graves (@RepTomGraves) February 14, 2019
In an unusual move, neither Democrats nor Republicans will hold a full briefing for their members on the contents of the roughly 1,100 page spending bill.
Lawmakers will vote on the text less than 24 hours after it was released, forcing Democrats to waive their 72-hour rule, in an attempt to clear the bill by Friday’s deadline.
By lunchtime on Thursday, staffers and activists had found two poison pills in the homeland security section which were left out of the bill summary released by Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey.
One poison pill would allow Democratic legislators in Texas border towns to block the construction of the 55 miles of border walls approved in the legislation.
A second poison pill would allow illegal migrants in the United State to get a legal shield against deportation by declaring their willingness to “sponsor” a teenager or child trafficked from Central America. Many the so-called “Unaccompanied Alien Children” who are being smuggled up to the United States by the cartels are the children or relatives of illegals who have already sneaked into the U.S.
GOP/Dem Spending Deal Provides Amnesty Pipeline for MS-13 Ganghttps://t.co/un6wMnUCzH
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) February 14, 2019
The legislation also includes funding and rules changes to welcome additional migrants, plus many rules to help stigmatize enforcement of the nation’s popular immigration laws.
The 2019 border security bill gives Trump & GOP an apparent win on the border wall $ — but it also chokes ICE enforcement with a wide variety of curbs, rules and exemptions while it also encourages offers of migration with offers of aid and lawyers. https://t.co/DfZZJE3SwN
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) February 14, 2019
The legislators who support the poison pills describe the pro-migration clauses as “Easter eggs.”