Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is warning that the House of Representatives should pass no immigration bill at all rather than risk a terrible bill coming out of conference.
King told WND pro-amnesty Republicans are operating under a false premise, and he wants House Speaker John Boehner to be more clear on what he would allow to move forward on the House floor.
He joins other conservative House members who believe they could never support a bill that is embraced by Senate Democrats, so trying to find common ground now is fruitless.
"If the House passed border security and interior security and sent that over to the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to take that up. Chuck Schumer has said that citizenship has to be part of the deal. It's not going to go to the president's desk, so why would the House take up anything if there's no prospect that we're going to improve the immigration situation, just the prospect that they're going to jam amnesty on us?" asked King, who cautioned that the Democratic agenda is transparent.
"It is about documenting undocumented Democrats. Jay Leno was right. That's why every Democrat supports this, and that's why Republicans should step back and wonder why it is that Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama are trying to help the political futures of Republicans. They are not," he said. "We're better off not to pass a bill out of the House because we leave ourselves vulnerable, plus we don't accomplish anything that's good. I don't want to bring anything through the House. I don't want to do that until we have at least a Republican majority in the United States Senate again and probably a president in the White House that has respect for his own oath of office."
King said he's pleased to see Boehner vow never to bring the Senate immigration bill up for a Β vote and require a majority of Republicans to support any House version of the bill. He said Boehner's language is more encouraging as of late, but the congressman remains uneasy about Boehner's careful language about other scenarios.
"When you get into allowing an amendment that doesn't have (majority GOP support), what about a conference report that doesn't have, his language has not been as clear. I can say it clearly without having to sit down and think about it. If I were making this call, and I'm not, there would be no immigration legislation coming to the floor, no amendment allowed and no conference report allowed that doesn't have, at a minimum, a majority support of House Republicans," King said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to hear that from our leadership in the next week or two."
The path of the debate in the House may well be established next week at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans. King is hopeful that a majority of members deliver a loud, clear message.
"I'm hopeful that enough members will stand up and say we're not going to get enforcement with this president. I'm not going to support anything that legalizes, because it's a path to citizenship. I'm not going to vote to expand legal immigration, because once you do that there's no place to stop. Let's get it under control first. I hope that's what we do," he said.
In addition to the Democrats, King and his allies are squaring off against some traditional allies, including groups like the chamber of commerce and popular conservative leaders like Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who holds a position very similar to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in support of Gang of Eight-style legislation. King said he has great respect for those lawmakers and organizations, but he believes they are making some critical errors in judgment.
"They either do not study, remember or accept the real history of this, and that's the 1986 amnesty act. Then they want to deny that the Senate bill is amnesty, and Paul Ryan has said he'll debate anyone who thinks this is amnesty. He says it's not. I defined amnesty long ago, and I'd be happy to have that debate. I don't know how they come to that conclusion and call themselves conservatives," said King, who noted a Heritage Foundation study showing the Senate version of reform would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion.
King said Ryan and Rubio are smart and likable men, but they start from the wrong point on this issue.
"If they start with a flawed premise, the smartest of people will still end up with the wrong conclusion. The flawed premise is that there's an economic benefit to legalization and that there's a political benefit to Republicans to legalization. Neither one of those is true. In fact, it's the exact opposite," said King, who noted that despite the assumption that Hispanic voters would embrace conservative principles on abortion, marriage and the free market, multiple surveys show Hispanics overwhelmingly backing the liberal positions on those issues.