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 RyanRevising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Paul Ryan will attend Biden's inauguration COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform 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 BoehnerCan the GOP break its addiction to show biz? House conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney Ex-Speaker Boehner after Capitol violence: 'The GOP must awaken' 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 SchumerNew York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration Schumer: Trump should not be eligible to run for office again McConnnell, McCarthy accept Biden invitation to pre-inauguration church service MORE (D-N.Y.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinMcConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment Officials brace for second Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration 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 McConnellTrump has talked to associates about forming new political party: report McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag McConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment 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) ManchinMcConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag Josh Hawley has a new publisher — that's good news This week: Tensions running high in Trump's final days 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 HeitkampHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment Biden to tap Vilsack for Agriculture secretary: reports OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA guidance may exempt some water polluters from Supreme Court permit mandate | Vilsack's stock rises with Team Biden | Arctic wildfires linked to warming temperatures: NOAA MORE (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Former McCaskill aides launch PAC seeking to thwart Hawley Ex-GOP senator blasts Hawley's challenge to electoral vote count as 'highly destructive attack' MORE (D-Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 50-50 Senate opens the door to solutions outlasting Trump's moment of violence Biden VA pick faces 'steep learning curve' at massive agency MORE (D-Mont.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Biden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs Streamlining the process of prior authorization for medical and surgical procedures MORE (D-Ohio), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats looking to speed through Senate impeachment trial Capitol Police officer hailed as hero for drawing rioters away from Senate chamber Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect MORE (D-Pa.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonGeorgia Senate races shatter spending records Georgia voters flood polls ahead of crucial Senate contests The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots MORE (D-Fla.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowYellen champions big spending at confirmation hearing Coronavirus relief deal hinges on talks over Fed lending powers OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Government scientists predicted border wall construction could harm wildlife refuge | Haaland nomination generates excitement in Native American communities | Trump officials wrongly awarded Alaska grant in bid to open Tongass MORE (D-Mich.), and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 Senate Democrats urge Google to improve ad policies to combat election disinformation 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.