Pressure is mounting on the House of Representatives to pass the Senate immigration bill, but Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, says the Senate plan is unconstitutional and is not nearly focused enough on border security.
House Republicans met Wednesday to get a sense of where the members stand on immigration and what the GOP strategy should be.
Rep. Stockman told WND Republicans don't feel much pressure to pass the Senate bill. He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not submitted the bill to the House because he knows the GOP believes it's unconstitutional.
“The bill is unconstitutional because Article 1, Section 7, says quite clearly that all taxes are to be started in the House, not in the Senate," he said. "The thing is loaded with taxes, loaded with pork, so Harry Reid to my knowledge has never sent it over to the House."
The congressman said if Reid does submit it, the House GOP will request a point of order on the alleged constitutional violation. He believes that would be followed by the House "blue-slipping" the bill.
“When the Senate creates a tax and it doesn’t come from the House, we have a right to send the entire package back to the Senate and tell them to rework it and remove all the income tax and all other taxation related to the bill," Stockman explained. "They have to remove it, and if that happens usually the bill dies."
In the meantime, Stockman is confident that House Speaker John Boehner will keep his word and not allow a bill opposed by a majority of Republicans to reach the House floor.
"We were promised by the speaker that this scenario would not happen," he said. "We asked privately if it would happen. Publicly, we asked him. So, if the speaker goes back on his word ... I think he’ll have major problems in maintaining his leadership position, and I think it would backfire. Ultimately, I don’t think that’s going to happen."
Several conservative lawmakers fear a solid House bill would get weakened in a House-Senate conference, and a bad bill could end up passing both chambers. As a result, they don’t want to see the House pass anything on the immigration front. Stockman shares their concerns but not their strategy.
"Being from Texas in a border state, we have to control our borders," he said. "This bill that my colleague, (House Homeland Security Committee Chairman) Mike McCaul, has introduced is comprehensive border security. We need to do border security first before addressing any other immigration issue."
Stockman said the McCaul bill would create an independent commission to certify whether the border is secure rather than leave that determination to the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security.
The recent decision of the Obama administration to delay implementation of the employer mandate in the health-care law is another concern to border security advocates, who fear the president would simply refuse to enforce tough border security provisions in the law. Stockman worries about that as well.
“I absolutely agree with that. In fact, I would like to see it taken to court and someone sue the administration. You can’t just pick what bills you want to enforce,” said Stockman, who cited Obama's refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in addition to selectively implementing the health-care law.
“This administration continues to act more like a monarchy than someone that’s in a democracy or a republic,” he said.
As for the fate of Obamacare, Stockman said he would like to see the individual mandate permanently shelved.
“It should be delayed forever. It’s a wreck on our economy. It’s now two trillion. Of course it’s supposed to be under a trillion, and I think they should permanently delay the whole implementation. It’s a train wreck. Fixes will be made constantly in order to fix this huge, huge bill,” he said.
Stockman also cheered the impending passage of the new abortion legislation in Texas that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and force greater health standards at abortion facilities.
“I think Texas took a logical step in protecting women and protecting life, and unfortunately there are those they had to bring to Texas. A lot of them weren’t even from Texas to be disruptive while we tried to pass our law. So I’m glad it passed," he said. "I praise our governor for taking a bold step."