10:43pm Eastern. Here’s an easy-to-use, interactive video phone guide to the shamnesty senators who voted YEA on cloture today.
10:15pm Eastern update. A reader wants to know whether the Georgia Republican Senators’ amendments are in the clay pigeon package. Yes, they are there. But remember to take all this amendment talk with a grain of salt. These are being used to try and buy off shamnesty votes. They are amendments in name only.
9:12pm Eastern update. The clay pigeon package is now searchable and linkable, thanks to the indispensable NZ Bear.
Ed Morrissey is wading through the amendment package. Here are a few of the quick points he has already raised:
POINT 1: Page 21, lines 12-16, apparently reinstated the 24-hour limit on probationary background checks. Remember when they promised to fix that so that no one would get a probationary card without passing the full background check? I guess they broke that promise.
POINT 2: Page 29, lines 12-end: The Z-visa has unlimited 4-year terms. I don’t think this is a change, but shouldn’t the immigrant at some point actually immigrate?
POINT 3: Page 33, lines 19-25: Z-visa non-immigrants over the age of 65 are not expected to maintain employment in order to remain eligible to be in the US. Again, why would they be here if they’re not working and not applying for a regular immigration status?
POINT 7: Page 69, line 20: The DREAM Act, providing scholarships for the children of illegal immigrants, still exists in the bill.
POINT 8: Page 89-90, lines 22-04: The 24-hour limit on background checks still holds within the Ag Workers section (the temporary guest worker program). If it takes longer than 24 hours, they get their credentials. (h/t: commenter Redherkey)
POINT 9: Page 92, lines 14-15: Do I read this correctly? The new limit on guest-worker visas is now 1,500,000 — not counting dependent Z-A visas? Wasn’t this originally 400,000 and reduced by half later?
7:20pm Eastern update.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Republican Conference today by 114 to 23 passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) that expresses opposition to the Senate immigration bill. “Today’s vote illustrates overwhelming opposition among Republicans in the House to the Senate immigration bill and the process in which it was developed,” Hoekstra said. “The Republican Conference has always advocated for immigration reform, but the Senate bill is bad public policy that does not reflect our position.” The text of the Hoekstra resolution is as follows: “Resolved the House GOP Conference disapproves of the Senate immigration bill.” “We have always reserved concerns about the policies that it advocates, but until now we have remained on the sidelines,” Hoekstra said. “It is important that we publicly express our opposition to the Senate bill before consideration is complete.”
I’ve just received the PDF file of the 373-page “Clay Pigeon” amendment.
The blogosphere’s open-source intelligence-gatherers will be integral in digesting this thing. Dig in.
While I wait for my printer to churn out this piece of clay pigeon poop, let me reiterate just how crummy this process is. The Grand Schemers drop this thing in on a Tuesday evening and expect they’ll be ramming it through–in as little as 48 hours–on Thursday or Friday with severely limited debate again.
Crummy. Stanley Kurtz is right:
Something about this immigration battle doesn’t sit well. For all the bitterness of our political battles, there’s at least the sense that the government responds to the drift of public opinion. The Republicans in Congress turned into big spenders and the war in Iraq went poorly. As a result the Democrats prospered in 2006, if narrowly. That’s how democracy works. Our politics are often angry and ugly (and that’s a problem), but this is because the public is deeply divided on issues of great importance. Deep down, we understand that our political problems reflect our own divisions.
Somehow this immigration battle feels different. The bill is wildly unpopular, yet it’s close to passing. The contrast with the high-school textbook version of democracy is not only glaring and maddening, it’s downright embarrassing. Usually, even when we’re at each others’ throats, there’s still an underlying pride in the democratic process. This immigration battle strips us of even that pride.
I’m still stuck on the way this bill was going to be pushed through without a public airing of crucial provisions, in the two or three days before Memorial Day recess. But I should be stuck even further back–on the way this bill was cooked up in a backroom deal that bypassed the ordinary process of public hearings. We take them for granted, but those civics textbook fundamentals are there for a reason. We’re going to pay a steep price for setting the fundamentals aside.
“The Senate conducts most of its business by cooperation and consent. The minority provides that consent with the expectation that the courtesies it extends to the majority will be met with respect for minority rights. And no Senate right is more fundamental than the right to debate.”
– Senator Harry Reid, March 15, 2005
Letter to then Majority Leader Bill Frist
U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) said Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bears responsibility for the immigration bill after Reid used his powers to guarantee votes on a few amendments while blocking all others. According to the Senate historian, this has never been done before in U.S. history.
“Senator Reid has been trying to portray this immigration nightmare as solely the responsibility of President Bush, but today we saw just how bad Reid wants it. He used his power as Majority Leader to manipulate and abuse the rules of the Senate to ram this bill down our throats. He has set up a process that guarantees votes on a few amendments while blocking all others. This has never been done before, and it’s the most heavy-handed and rigged thing I have ever seen. This bill may have Ted Kennedy’s name on it but it belongs to Harry Reid now.”
After the Senate voted to cut off debate on the question of whether to resurrect the Senate immigration bill, Senator Reid set up unique debate process that guarantees votes several hand-picked amendments but blocks consideration of all others. Senator Reid used a parliamentary tool called a “clay pigeon” to divide a giant amendment into multiple amendments and then moved to block all others. No other member of the Senate besides Reid could have accomplished all of this without being stopped by another Senator. No other Majority Leader in history has done this.
“Republicans need to take a step back and realize what happened today. Senator Reid turned the Senate into the House and fundamentally undermined minority rights,” said Senator DeMint. “I was always told the Senate was the saucer that cooled the pot, but Senator Reid is forcing us to drink straight from the spout. Republicans better wake up soon or they can expect Senator Reid to use this tactic in the future to raise taxes, increase spending, and weaken our national security.”
All true. But it doesn’t take away the slap in the face the GOP Grand Schemers and the White House administered when they decided to collaborate on this nightmare.
Speaking of holding Republicans accountable, check out the latest in our anti-amnesty Hot Air ads: