Rank-and-file Republican legislators will ask the House’s rules committee Tuesday to allow an anti-amnesty vote during the floor debate over the 2015 government budget.
But unless there’s huge wave of phone calls from voters to Congress, the request will likely be rejected by GOP leaders prior to a Thursday debate.
That’s because the chairman of the rules committee, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, was caught on video telling Democrats last week that he’ll push for an 2015 amnesty that would provide more foreign workers to U.S. companies. Rep. Sessions is a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, who has so far blocked efforts to defund the amnesty.
The new anti-amnesty language is being pushed by Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, and Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, who unseated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a June 2014 primary vote.
“This is an issue that Congressman Brat ran on, and was a signature part of the campaign, and he couldn’t just stand by and vote no on the [funding] bill,” said Brat’s spokesman, Brian Gottstein. “He feels like he has to do anything he can” to stop Obama’s amnesty, Gottstein said.
The language in the amendment is intended to bar any spending by Obama’s agencies on his ambitious plan to give work permits and aid benefits to at least four million illegals, to put illegals on a fast-track to citizenship, and to boost the inflow of foreign university graduates for jobs sought by U.S. graduates.
However, the measure can’t block the main part of Obama’s amnesty, which largely ends enforcement of immigration law for millions of illegals now in the country, and for many others who overstay their tourist and work visas.
To reduce the pressure for a ban on amnesty spending, Boehner is allowing GOP legislators to put a 60-day limit on appropriations given to immigration agencies. But the limit is symbolic, because the immigration agency can execute Obama’s amnesty by accepting payments from illegals for work permits and Social Security numbers, even after it runs out of funds appropriated by Congress.
The push for an amendment comes as more GOP legislators say Obama’s amnesty is unfair to Americans.
“More than 200,000 Tennesseans remain out of work, but rather than prioritize their plight, the President is putting the interests of those who have broken our laws ahead of them,” said Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, in a statement prior to Obama’s Tuesday visit to Nashville, Tenn.
“Why should unemployed Tennesseans have to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs? And why should those who break our laws to come here be rewarded while so many wait to come here legally?” she asked. “This is wrong.”
“President Obama continues to relentlessly assault the Constitution and American workers,” said a Tuesday statement from Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn. “I hope he plans on explaining to Tennesseans why they will now have to compete for jobs with illegal aliens to whom he is unilaterally granting work permits.”
Constituents “are losing out on getting jobs because someone who is in the country illegally will do that work at a lesser cost,” Blackburn told The Daily Caller.
The emotional appeal for fairness contrasts with the unemotional complaints by GOP leaders about the process chosen by Obama to implement his unilateral amnesty.
“Our immigration system is broken, and we need to fix it. … There’s a right way to do this and a wrong way, and unfortunately, the president has chosen the wrong way,” said Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said Dec. 2. “They’ve taken a sweeping approach to prosecutorial discretion that makes a mockery of the law.”
The leadership doesn’t want to to add anti-amnesty language to the 2015 bill, even though Obama’s immigration policies are unpopular. GOP leaders say they’ll address the president’s immigration policies next year, once the GOP’s new majority takes power in the Senate.
A new poll of 1,001 adults shows 56 percent of adults — including 57 percent of independents — oppose Obama’s immigration policy, yet the GOP leadership has declined to push for a funding ban on the amnesty. Obama’s amnesty plan support from only 39 percent of the adults, said the Bloomberg poll.
The poll didn’t release any information about the attitude of likely voters, or the numbers of people who hold strong opinions for or against Obama’s immigration policies.
Prior polls show that Americans strongly oppose his policies by a rate of two, three or four to one, compared to those who strongly support his immigration policies.
The Bloomberg poll’s language doesn’t ask about the workplace impact of Obama’s amnesty, so likely understates public opposition to the amnesty, which will cost roughly $22,000 per new college graduate for the next 50 years.