Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) confirmed to Politico on Wednesday that he’s putting the brakes on the immigration bill. The Alabama senator is preventing lawmakers from considering amendments that would improve the legislation, most notably an amendment offered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that would strengthen the bill’s border security measures and bring conservative support to the overall package.
Joshua Culling | All Articles
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Joshua Culling is government affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.
Since the days of Jack Kemp, conservatives have pushed for “dynamic scoring” of proposed policy changes. To evaluate legislation dynamically is to consider both its costs and its benefits, taking into account macroeconomic and behavioral changes that have an impact on economic growth and government revenues.
After a catastrophic Election Day, a number of high-profile conservatives have come out in support of a new path forward for the Republican Party with respect to immigration reform. Speaker John Boehner promised a comprehensive reform effort in 2013, Charles Krauthammer endorsed “amnesty” in a column, and Sean Hannity has “evolved” on the issue, calling for a path to citizenship on his radio show yesterday.
Every election cycle, Republicans wring their hands and repeat the same mantra about the Hispanic demographic. “They are pro-life, they are entrepreneurial, they are religious. Their natural home is the GOP. Why aren’t they voting for us?” Then the party increases its “Hispanic outreach” budget, cuts some Spanish-language ads for the Miami and Denver media markets, and wonders why it is hemorrhaging even more Hispanic votes than it did the previous cycle.
Last week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) opted to shut down state government rather than accept a Republican budget that cuts spending and avoids tax increases. It appears the governor is taking a page out of the Obama playbook by insisting on massive tax increases while ignoring the fact that a Republican legislature refuses to budge on the issue.
Earlier this month, President Obama announced his desire for a second bailout of state governments to the tune of $50 billion. The president argued that the “emergency package” was necessary to stabilize state budgets and avoid cuts to public employee payrolls. Conservatives rightly rejected the proposal, citing the need for states to operate under the “new normal” – smaller, more efficient government reflective of the fact that overspending in periods of economic growth led to budget growth of unsustainable proportions. Spending cuts, public employee compensation reform, and targeted privatization are the proper methods for bringing state spending in line with reality. Allowing the federal government to artificially prop up state budgets merely kicks the can down the road to the next crisis.
The lead story in Sunday's Washington Post, Obama pleads for $50 billion in state, local aid, confirms what we've been expecting for some time. The Obama Administration will continue to push for more bailout money to fill state budget holes created by rampant overspending and budget gimmicks. Not only will this measure increase the staggering federal deficit by $80 billion, it will allow frivolous appropriators at the state level to continue to ignore the structural problems in state budgets.
If he seeks higher office on a platform of fiscal conservatism, Tim Pawlenty will have the battle scars to prove it.