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 RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (R-Wis.) already conceded victory to Democrat Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic primary fight shifts to South Carolina, Nevada Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire Dem leader says party can include abortion opponents 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?

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 BoehnerPrinciples to unify America Feehery: A possible House Speaker conundrum for Democrats Obama on bipartisanship: 'There is a way to reach out and not be a sap' 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 SchumerChuck SchumerThe five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs Protect America's houses of worship in year-end appropriations package MORE (D-N.Y.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee 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 McConnellFive things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs Obama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently 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) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (D-W.V.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty MORE (D-IN), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator McCaskill congratulates Hawley on birth of daughter MORE (D-Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (D-Mont.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (D-Ohio), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyScranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Grassley tests positive for coronavirus Casey says he isn't thinking about Pennsylvania gubernatorial bid in 2022 MORE (D-Pa.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 MORE (D-Fla.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Lobbying world Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  MORE (D-Mich.), and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Next Congress expected to have record diversity Infrastructure, energy investments urgently needed to create U.S. jobs 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.