I’ll admit that I’m a bit confused by this. Meghan McCain, Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arz.) daughter, said just last week that he hadn’t returned to the Senate yet and they didn’t know when he would.
Yet, if you are going to introduce legislation, then you aren’t shielded from criticism and it appears Mr. McCain found enough time to introduce a bill that will probably scuttle the process. Sen. Chris Coons (R-Del.) is said to be his partner in the collaboration.
Why do I say it will scuttle the process?
Because the bill is so bad that there’s no chance it will even be brought up for a vote. The bill being dead on arrival will effectively show enough split in GOP thinking so as to kill any leverage in future negotiations. The division in the ranks will hand Democrats the talking point that it’s the Republicans who can’t come together on a bill. It may even give enough cover to prompt another shutdown (I’d still bet against it, but it seems much more possible today than it did yesterday).
So what’s in the bill?
The senators’ bill would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since Dec. 31, 2013, aides said Sunday. That is expected to be a larger group than would be covered by Mr. Trump’s proposed 1.8 million people.
Aiming to tighten border security, their bill calls for the Homeland Security Department to devise a strategy for situational awareness and operational control of the border by 2020. The bill would provide a $110 million annual grant for five years to improve coordination between border-patrol agents and state and local law-enforcement officials. It wouldn’t, however, direct any funding for border technology or the more-controversial barriers or wall that Mr. Trump wants.
The legislation also calls for clearing a backlog in the immigration-court system by hiring 55 new judges per year, as well as dozens of staff attorneys, for three years. The bill would also direct the State Department to submit a three-year strategy aimed at addressing the underlying causes of immigration from Central America to the U.S. Many Central Americans try to enter the U.S. illegally because of severe drug gang violence in their home countries. (WSJ)
Not only does it provide amnesty to an even larger group than Trump’s already controversial 1.8 million, but it includes no actual border security. Instead, it simply gives small grants to study the issue and demands a “strategy” for border security by 2020.
With a Democrat President and Senate very possible in 2020, what do you think their response will be to following through on border security? If you guessed “they won’t” then give yourself a hand.
Nowhere in the bill is chain migration or the visa lottery reformed. There’s no funding for security at all, much less physical boundaries in places DHS has said it’s needed. This is as close to a clean bill as you can get without it being completely clean.
This is a bill so ludicrous that you’d expect it was introduced by Democrats. Instead it was introduced by two Republicans who can never seem to get on board with even the most nominal of conservative proposals on their own side.
Trump’s framework gave citizenship to 3x as many people as Democrats said they wanted, yet it wasn’t enough. It was so generous that most conservatives objected. Now we’ve got Republicans running to the left and introducing a ridiculous bill like this, eroding any leverage toward a more conservative compromise.
The fact that this bill is even seeing the light of day actually makes me question whether sabotaging the negotiations is exactly what Mr. McCain is after. He has shown himself a near equal to President Trump in his ability to hold petty grudges. The difference being that the President just spouts off on twitter about it while McCain holds the entire country hostage and punches conservatives in the face for good measure.
He knows this can’t pass and that it’s a complete betrayal of 95% of Republicans on immigration. Of those conservatives who think a border wall isn’t the best strategy, most of them still want effective border security set in stone as part of any deal. Reforming chain migration enjoys the vast majority of support among Republicans as well.
So the question is, who exactly are McCain and Coons representing here with this bill?
McCain went on to paint himself as the pragmatist concerned about the military.
“It’s time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve,” McCain said in a statement to the Journal.
In reality, this proposal does nothing to end the gridlock he decries. It only entrenches it and may actually make it more likely that the military is effected by yet another shutdown.
Some suggest that an 81 year old with brain cancer, who hasn’t been present to vote for months, should consider retiring. My reasoning actually has nothing to do with that though. He should retire because his continual middle finger to Republican policy concerns has reached the point of parody. Obamacare still exists today because of John McCain’s lies to those he claims to represent.
At this stage, the GOP would be better served without Sen. McCain leaving the Senate and not being able to consistently undercut even the most common sense of proposals.