Our arguments are so compelling that GOP leaders can’t openly oppose them. Instead, they have concocted Gruber-style arguments to hoodwink conservative members and the public into thinking we lack the leverage to fight amnesty now, but somehow, we will have that ability next year.
The GOP establishment’s argument goes something like this: we don’t have the votes to fight amnesty now, but wait until next year when we have the Senate and we can really take it to Obama. That’s why we are isolating the funding for DHS and timing out its appropriations in late February.
There are many misleading implications and obfuscations in this line of thought. Here are just a few:
1. They Don’t Want to Defund – Not Now, Not Ever: The entire debate over when to fight Obama’s amnesty is only predicated on the understanding that GOP leadership indeed wants to fight the amnesty in any consequential way – ever. Have these gullible members received a promise from Boehner that if they pass this bill he will fight to the death to attach a full defund rider onto the DHS appropriations bill in February? Of course not. Senate Republicans haven’t even promised to block Obama’s nominees, and that is something that would not even risk the much-dreaded government shutdown.
Not only do Boehner and McConnell oppose any form of defund on any issue for risk of a shutdown, on immigration they downright support Obama’s action. They all support amnesty. Boehner told his conference that he told Obama “do what you gotta do.” Valerie Jarrett said that Boehner told Obama to simply wait until after the primaries were over to enact amnesty.
If you believe that Boehner will effectively fight this next year, you shouldn’t be serving in Congress. Supporting this bill will simply give Boehner and Co. the much-needed out to begin negotiating legislative amnesty next year instead of fighting Obama.
2. February 27 is Too Late: There is a reason why Obama enacted his proclamation through a memorandum instead of a formal executive order. He has the ability to implement this policy immediately. He is already illegally using existing funds to hire 1,000 new employees to process the amnesty applications and the work permits. This affects the future of people, not just expenditures. Once the implementation begins, the policy is immutable. And Obama knows it. So does Boehner.
3. Immigration is Funded in Other Agencies Long-Term: Even if Republicans miraculously fight amnesty in the February DHS bill, by passing the CRomnibus this week they would have funded a number of agencies tasked with immigration responsibilities without any restrictions. The most prominent agency outside of DHS that is involved with immigration is the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They have helped disperse illegal minors throughout the country so that they will never be deported. The State Department, the Justice Department, and the Department of Education will all play a vital role in helping Obama’s amnestied illegals establish roots here. All of those departments and agencies will be fully funded for the entire year under this bill.
4. Provides Additional Funding for Immigration: It is not as if Republicans are only declining to defund amnesty. This bill provides gratuitous funding that will help Obama accelerate amnesty. As the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper notes, this bill contains $2.5 billion to accommodate illegal immigrants and refugees. And again, much of that funding comes from agencies outside of DHS. As we know, Obama has abused the refugee and asylum system to help facilitate his illegal immigration agenda.
5. Lose Public Backing and Outrage: The success of any budget brinkmanship hinges on public support. The public supports us stopping amnesty, certainly as it relates to Obama’s unconstitutional action. However, if we wait and agree to continue funding it for several months, we will lose the moral and intellectual clarity of the argument. It will become harder to harness the requisite degree of outrage as the executive action begins to take on a sense of inevitability and an aura of legitimacy with time.
Finally, it’s important to note that we will not have much more leverage next year than we do now. Some Republicans are misleading their constituents and fellow members into thinking we will have the ability to slam a regular budget bill on Obama’s desk next year. Not true.
Democrats can still filibuster it. Either way, we control the House, and either way, we force a vote in the Senate – whether it’s on the underlying budget bill with a defund policy rider (next year with a GOP majority) or on an amendment stripping out the defund rider (this year without control of the Senate.) – we don’t have the luxury of waiting.
Daniel Horowitz is Senior Editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on twitter @RMConservative.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Conservative Review.