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 RyanOcasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump MORE (R-Wis.) already conceded victory to Democrat Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezDHS to make migrants wait in Mexico while asylum claims processed Coffman loses GOP seat in Colorado Trump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic 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 BoehnerAmash's critics miss the fact that partisanship is the enemy of compromise A cautionary tale for Justin Amash from someone who knows Border funding bill highlights the problem of 'the Senate keyhole' 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 SchumerLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants MORE (D-N.Y.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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) ManchinTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE (D-W.V.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE (D-IN), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments McConnell's Democratic challenger says she likely would have voted for Kavanaugh MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (D-Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives Democratic senators want candidates to take Swalwell's hint and drop out MORE (D-Mont.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (D-Ohio), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyCrucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research Republicans make U-turn on health care Democrats press IRS on guidance reducing donor disclosure requirements MORE (D-Pa.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups How Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA MORE (D-Fla.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowGOP Senate challenger in Michigan raises .5 million in less than a month It's time to let Medicare to negotiate drug prices Trump judicial nominee says he withdrew over 'gross mischaracterizations' of record MORE (D-Mich.), and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Health care needs transparency, and President Trump is making progress 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.