Sorry Sen. Warren, The Filibuster Didn't Kill the 2013 Amnesty Bill--I Did.

Senator Elizabeth Warren went to Iowa spreading a bizarre fake news narrative that the reason the infamous 2013 Senate “gang of eight” amnesty bill failed was that it never passed in the Senate due to the filibuster. Here’s what she told voters at a campaign rally on December 28.

For anyone who comes to you and talks to you about how important changes in the immigration laws are to them, ask how they feel about filibuster reform. I stood on the floor of the United States Senate back in 2013 when we had a bill that would have created — it wasn’t a perfect bill — but would have created some paths to citizenship, certainly would have improved from where we were. And what happened? It got 54 votes, I think it was, which in any hundred-member body should mean it passed. But not in the world of the filibuster, because the filibuster loads the game against those who want change.

Warren then doubled down on a Spanish TV show, “Qué Pasa Iowa?,” where she advocated for the full elimination of the legislative filibuster, and repeated her odd lie.

So long as we have a filibuster, nothing gets through the Senate unless it has 60 votes. I was in the Senate back in 2013 when an immigration bill passed, but it only had 54 votes, I think it was, and even though that’s a majority, it wasn’t enough to beat the filibuster.

The amnesty bill would have offered total amnesty for millions of illegals and created a giant magnet for future illegals to rush the borders to gain their amnesty as well.

Senator Warren is entirely wrong–so wrong that the Washington Post’s “fact checker” busted her, and it’s kind of funny, because she apparently had no clue that the 2013 Senate “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill she voted for actually did pass in the Senate. I mean, she said she was there that day, right?

So here’s why the bill really was never sent to the House.

Once the amnesty bill passed the Senate, the word was that Speaker of the House John Boehner was preparing to either ignore the “Hastert Rule” and allow a vote with only a minority of GOP votes, or conference it with a House border security bill and do an ‘amendment in the nature of a substitute’ so the sensible House bill would become the amnesty bill–and thereby hand President Obama what would have been an even greater victory than Obamacare.

Sorry Senator Warren, the filibuster didn’t stop it. I did.

We knew the fix was in to steamroller it through the House, so I was reading the 1198-page bill, S. 744 late one night hoping to find ways to block it and build greater nationwide opposition. As I read the bill, it dawned on me that it was full of fines, fees and taxes. Revenue. And it originated in the Senate!

My boss, Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX), loved the idea, so he had me draft a ‘blue slip’ letter proving it violated the Origination Clause (“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives”), and we got many signatures from other members.

I hand-delivered the letter to Chairman Dave Camp, the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee as well as a copy to the Speaker’s office. The next morning, Chairman Camp Tweeted that the bill violated the Constitution and would not be taken up in the House.

Here’s an article from that time, detailing Chairman Camp’s rejection and my boss’ work to kill it.


So one person can move mountains occasionally, and my greatest accomplishment working in the House was denying Obama, the “Gang of Eight”–and, yes, Senator Warren–from passing full amnesty for illegals.

Back to the filibuster for a minute. Senator Warren is openly advocating that if Democrats re-take the Senate at some point, they would push the final ‘nuclear option’ button by abolishing the legislative filibuster.

I support abolishing the legislative filibuster, so the Republican Senate could pass key conservative legislation that will please voters and allow President Trump to build the wall, defund leftwing advocacy groups and enact his other critical agenda items.

However, the Republican Senate leadership did not want to change the rules on the theory that if the GOP majority was lost, the Democrats would use the weapon against us. I argued they would do so regardless (as Warren proved), so let’s use it or lose our majority. Indeed, had the filibuster been abolished, the Republicans might not have lost the House in 2018 because they could have passed so many more bills that would make America great again and please voters. Here’s my piece in The Hill, titled “McConnell Must-Go-Nuclear: Abolish the Legislative Filibuster.”


Read More Red State Articles by Art Harman

Art Harman is the President of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration, a space advocacy organization supporting the return to the moon by 2024. He was the Legislative Director and foreign policy advisor for Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress, and is a veteran policy analyst and grass-roots political expert. His expertise includes foreign relations, border security/amnesty, national security, transportation, foreign broadcasting and NASA/space policy.

He has travelled the world and been behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet era, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, was arrested by the KGB, and stood in the footprints of those who sacrificed everything for freedom at Tiananmen Square.

Mr. Harman developed the strategy to kill the 2013 Senate “gang of eight” amnesty bill as violating the Constitution’s Origination Clause–and was dubbed “The Bill Killer” by Roll Call for his work. He provided policy advice to the Trump campaign, transition and the White House. He wrote what became the ‘bible’ for post-Brexit trade relations which was introduced in 2016 by Sen. Mike Lee as S. 3123, the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act, and he advised the Trump administration to return Americans to the Moon by 2024–now official policy. Harman is a frequent guest expert on radio shows on key policy issues, an award-winning filmmaker, and an award-winning fine-arts photographer.

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