On the heels of a successful effort by House conservatives to persuade their Republican colleagues to vote to defund Obamacare, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., believes House Speaker John Boehner has the power to kill permanently the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill and offer an alternative.
“I think we should do something,” Paul told Breitbart News. “There’s 11 million people here who are undocumented. If we do nothing, we’ll get another 11 million.
Paul believes Boehner has the power to refuse to conference, or negotiate, on the “Gang of Eight” bill and, instead, introduce a narrowly focused alternative bill that would fix border security and expand work visas.
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a Breitbart op-ed Sunday evening they were concerned that the House “will pass individual, incremental bills only to have them cobbled together in a backroom deal” with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the “Gang of Eight.”
Such a scenario, the Republican senators said, would “open the back door for congressional leaders to create a new amnesty-first, enforcement-later ‘comprehensive’ immigration bill” in a conference committee.
“Once the conference approves the new bill and sends it back to each chamber, amendments are prohibited and only an up-or-down vote is allowed,” Sessions and Lee wrote. “Another danger is that, after the House passes several smaller bills, congressional leaders could handpick negotiators to meet in secret and develop a ‘compromise’ plan to ‘fix’ the Senate bill and bring the new – even larger – comprehensive proposal to a vote in both chambers.”
The “Gang of Eight” bill, supported by four Republicans and four Democrats in the Senate, provides a “citizenship path” for illegal aliens in the country that is contingent on border security and visa-tracking improvements. Critics call it a de facto “amnesty,” arguing that, despite assurances and billions of dollars of spending, it provides no guarantee of a secure border and encourages future law-breaking.
The “Gang of Eight” members are Sens. Michael Bennett, D-Colo.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Messing with Obama
Meanwhile, the Republican-led House last Friday voted 230-189, almost strictly on party lines, to pass a short-term government spending plan that would eliminate all funding for Obamacare.
The measure now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is certain to reject the defunding of Obamacare.
But at a victory rally after the vote, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called on the Senate to “follow House Republicans and show some responsibility.”
Obama, later Friday, accused House Republicans of “trying to mess with me” at the expense of the middle class.
“You don’t have to threaten to blow the whole thing up if you don’t get your way,” Obama said in speech at a Ford plant in the Kansas City, Mo., area.
How to avoid ‘getting tricked’
Paul, affirming the editorial by Sessions and Lee, told Breitbart News he urged House conservatives to stand up against any conference committee on the “Gang of Eight” bill.
“Conference is kind of messy in the sense that you can go to conference on anything and you don’t know what comes out of it,” Paul said. “The problem will be, I’m guessing, is that several conferees on the Republican side in the Senate will probably be authors of the bill that the Democrats put forward, which means we automatically put ourselves at a disadvantage in a conference committee.”
The only way to avoid getting tricked, he said, is for Boehner to declare he is against a conference committee.
Breitbart News noted that Paul recently told talk-radio host Laura Ingraham that Boehner’s speakership would be in jeopardy if he passes a bill that effectively grants amnesty to illegal aliens.
“If he allows something to pass out of conference that looks anything like the Senate bill and is passed with a majority of Democrats,” Paul said, “I think that will be the final thing he does as speaker.”