Sen. Lee: ‘From Day One, The Country Was Misled About What Was in The Bill’

Michael W. Chapman | June 27, 2013 | 9:20pm EDT
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Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah)

( – Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) took to the Senate floor on Thursday to speak against the immigration reform bill, which later passed 68-32, stressing that many falsehoods were told about the legislation through misleading talking points, and that the American people, “from Day One,” were “misled about what was in the bill.”

“From Day One, the country was misled about what was in the bill,” said Senator Lee. “The talking points never matched the reality of what was in the bill.”

“We were told that if we didn’t like what was in it, we could fix it,” he said.  “But that wasn’t true either.  During the committee ‘mark up,’ Democrats and the Gang of Eight Republicans voted as a bloc to defeat virtually all substantive amendments proposed to improve the bill.”

“They said there would be regular order on the floor.  But that turned out to be a false promise as well,” said Lee. He then noted that the bill was 1,200 pages long but only 10 votes on amendments were allowed and the regular order was shut down.

In contrast, when similar legislation was pushed back in 2007, the Senate voted 32 times to amend the bill.

Lee continued, “And for the grand finale, at nearly the end of this process, the proponents substituted what is effectively a brand new bill in place of the one we had been debating for over two months.  They gave us very little time to read it before we had to vote on it, and once we were on to the new bill, they did not allow a single vote on any amendments.”

“Mr. President, this is an embarrassment to this institution and it’s an assault on the principles of democracy,” said Lee.

The senator went on to argue that the drive to pass massive, “comprehensive” legislation – one-size-fits-all to solve every problem – was the wrong approach and that lawmakers should take immigration reform one piece at a time. There is no need to rapidly push a “take-it-or-leave-it bill,” he said.

In concluding his remarks, Lee said of the Senate immigration legislation, “They said it would secure the border. It doesn’t.  Congress has been fooled by false promises before.  We shouldn’t go down that path again.

“They said illegal immigration would be a thing of the past.  It won’t. The Congressional Budget Office confirmed that under this bill there would still be 6 to 8 million illegals in the country in 10 years.  

“They said it would be good for the economy.  It isn’t. CBO also confirmed it would lower wages and increase unemployment.  

“They said it would be tough but fair.  It’s neither.  It is not tough on those who have broken the law and it is not fair for the people who have been trying to come here legally.”

“[T] this bill is not immigration reform,” said Lee.  “It is big government dysfunction.”

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