No room for amnesty in our government spending bill

No room for amnesty in our government spending bill
© Greg Nash

Has House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Kelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) already conceded victory to Democrat Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezIllinois officer resigns after not helping woman harassed for wearing Puerto Rico shirt Dem tears into Kelly over immigrant comments: 'He eats the vegetables that they pick' WATCH: Gutiérrez says ‘lonely’ Trump can cry on KKK’s shoulder over WH departures MORE (D-Ill.) and other pro-amnesty radicals before the negotiations over a year-end spending bill have even begun? And if he has, hasn’t he set himself to be forced to rely on Democratic votes to pass that monster spending bill, thereby giving them even more negotiating leverage than they already have?

And if that’s so, isn’t it likely that the result will be yet another massive spending bill that funds an ObamaCare insurance company bailout and other liberal priorities, legislates amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, and otherwise breaks faith with the grassroots activists who put Republicans in the majority and Ryan in the Speaker’s chair? And if all that comes to pass, wouldn’t that put GOP control of the House at serious risk?

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That’s what worried conservative grassroots leaders and activists are wondering after word leaked last week that Ryan privately told a group of his conservative House GOP colleagues he intended to include a so-called “DACA fix” in the expected December omnibus spending bill. According to the Huffington Post, Ryan told House conservatives that he “plans to include a legislative fix for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children in a year-end spending deal.”

“Asked if he envisioned a December omnibus spending bill including Cost Sharing Reductions for ObamaCare or some sort of solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” the Huffington Post reported, “Ryan told leaders of the Republican Study Committee that he didn’t believe CSR payments would be part of the deal with Democrats, but that DACA would.”

From a simple legislative and political strategy standpoint, this is stupid, stupid, stupid. The overwhelming majority of House conservatives — who make up the overwhelming majority of the House Republican Conference — oppose a “legislative fix” for illegal immigrants. They know “legislative fix” is code for “amnesty,” and they know their constituents oppose that.

So any attempt to add an amnesty for illegal immigrants of any age, whether they were brought to the United States as children or not, is a deal-breaker for the vast majority of the House Republican Conference. Adding that amnesty to the spending bill would make it virtually impossible to win the 218 votes necessary to pass the bill from the members of Ryan’s own party caucus.

If he can’t get to the 218 votes necessary to pass the omnibus spending bill with Republican votes, Ryan — who, like his predecessor John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Veterans are left out of medical marijuana protections MORE, seems to be terrified of the prospect of even a temporary, partial government shutdown — will have to look to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for votes.

Pelosi, as she has proven before, will drive a hard bargain. Since Ryan will have already included the amnesty for DACA recipients in his opening bid, she won’t even have to negotiate for that. She can just pocket that win for her side, and then turn to other pressing matters, like demanding funding for the insurance company bailout known in Washington as “cost sharing reduction” payments in exchange for the Democratic votes necessary to pass the omnibus spending bill.

So Ryan’s opening gambit is virtually sure to guarantee the results Democrats seek and Republicans oppose, leaving his GOP colleagues to wonder how in the world they’re going to excite and mobilize their own disappointed base in advance of next year’s crucial midterm elections. Instead, Ryan should introduce an omnibus spending package that contains neither an amnesty for DACA recipients nor an insurance company bailout. He should rely on GOP votes to pass that spending bill through the House, and he should send that bill to the Senate.

If Senate Democrats — under the leadership of Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Red-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (D-N.Y.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Too many Americans go to prison but Congress can fix this problem This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-Ill.), both known to be pro-amnesty radicals themselves — want to filibuster the omnibus spending bill because it doesn’t contain amnesty provisions or an insurance company bailout, let them. In that event, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash House passes bipartisan bill to boost business investment MORE (R-Ky.) should allow the Democrat filibuster to proceed, but he should insist that the Senate will do no business until the filibuster is ended.

Let Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Morrisey accuses Manchin of 'lying' to Trump, attacks ‘liberal’ record The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments MORE (D-W.V.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Fed chief lays out risks of trade war Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee MORE (D-IN), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Bipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate Fed chief lays out risks of trade war MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Senate Dems lock in million in TV airtime Why does Congress keep playing political games on FBI oversight? MORE (D-Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Fed chief lays out risks of trade war Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (D-Mont.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Dems call for hearings on Trump’s CFPB nominee to be put on hold Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds MORE (D-Ohio), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Dem senator: Kavanaugh would 'turn back the clock' on women's health care MORE (D-Pa.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Hillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback Senate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference MORE (D-Fla.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowLobbying world The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dem senator: Kavanaugh sides with 'wealthiest special interests' MORE (D-Mich.), and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Overnight Health Care: Over 7,000 fail to meet Medicaid work rules in Arkansas | Judge temporarily halts deportations of reunited families | GOP chair in talks over restarting ObamaCare payments Dem senator calls for 'permanent' price cuts at Pfizer MORE (D-Wis.) explain to their constituents why they voted to shut down the government rather than pass a bill that does not contain amnesty provisions or an insurance company bailout. To the millions of grassroots conservatives who gave Republicans control of the House and Senate, this choice looks easy. Only in Washington, with its warped views, would it appear difficult.

Jenny Beth Martin is chairman of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund.