Senate Immigration Reform Illegal!?

Whoops-a-daisy!! Apparently Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) forgot how the government was supposed to work. The recently rammed-through Gang of Eight Immigration bill that the Senate passed with only 14 Republican votes has hit some rough terrain in the House of Representatives.

The Senate bill never had much of a chance in the House because the Republican Party holds the majority, but there were signs that the Democrats might be able to sway enough Republican votes to get the job done. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) had designated himself the “chief mind changer” in trying to get his Republican colleagues on board. The problem for supporters of the bill is that most Republicans won’t support comprehensive immigration reform without first securing the border. This bill doesn’t do that.

So any attempt to get it through the House would likely fail.

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However, new information makes it seem like the House Republicans were the least of the bill’s worries. One of the things that the Senate immigration bill does is raise revenues (through taxes) to support the immigration plan. However, the “origination clause” in the Constitution states that any bill that raises revenue must start in the House. Our founders believed that the House would be more responsive to the people (because the Senate was elected by House members at the time), and therefore more likely to not pass unpopular tax measures.

antiimmigrationRepresentative Steve Stockman (R-TX) plainly states the case:

“Any bill that raises revenue must start in the House. By creating their own amnesty taxes Senate Democrats broke the rules. Senate Democrats were so hell-bent on ramming through a gift to radical political activists they didn’t bother to check if it was even legal… They got caught trying to sneak an illegal bill past the Constitution’s borders.”

When something like this happens, the Speaker of the House, currently John Boehner (R-OH), can simply kill the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional by simply using a procedure called the “blue slip resolution.”[1] Some observers, including Stockman himself, believe that this is why Reid has as of yet refrained from sending the bill to the House — for fear that Boehner would simply kill it with a “blue slip resolution.” “Even Harry Reid now admits the Senate’s amnesty bill is unconstitutional and cannot become law,” said Stockman.

It’s an interesting turn of events for the immigration bill, but one that many Republicans are likely grateful for. It seems that recently the Democrats have consistently been producing poorly planned legislation that has fallen apart on its own merits. The Gang of Eight Immigration bill now looks as clumsily cobbled together as the Obamacare legislation. Perhaps, like Obamacare, the immigration bill will begin to consume itself into oblivion.

Our nation may need comprehensive immigration reform, but it needs to start with securing the border.

  1. It’s called a “blue slip resolution” because the paper on which it is issued is blue. []

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