Dan Holler is the Communications Director for Heritage Action for America. He is responsible for Heritage Action’s media outreach, pushing for conservative policies, providing conservative insights on upcoming votes and explaining how and why Conservatives often break ranks from the Establishment. Dan also manages Heritage Action’s blog and social media outreach.Prior to his work with Heritage Action, Dan was the Deputy Director of Senate Relations for The Heritage Foundation, where he was responsible for educating Senators and their staffs about think tank’s latest research and policy recommendations, with an emphasis on energy and environment, taxes, health care and national security.
John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress in the history of the country, famously said, “If you let me write the procedure, and I let you write the substance, I’ll screw you every time.” This time, the Gang of Eight wrote the substance and is dictating the procedure.
Put another way, agreeing to the motion essentially allows debate on the bill to begin (and yes, that aforementioned vote did require 60 votes). But debates are weird in Washington. That is especially true in the U.S. Senate, which used to be known as the world’s greatest deliberative body.
Conservatives, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and David Vitter (R-LA), opposed the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 744. They understand, as does Heritage Action, that the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill is flawed beyond repair.
I wanted to make sure you saw this article from National Journal: Rubio’s Right. The Gang Is Far From a Supermajority on Immigration. The skepticism mirrors that of outlets like BuzzFeed, which described the bill’s coalition as “fragile.” In that same article, a Republican supporter discussed the bill’s “tenuous balance.”
More from National Journal’s Chris Frates:
Chuck Schumer is predicting the Senate will overwhelmingly pass comprehensive immigration reform before July 4. Marco Rubio says the bill doesn’t even have the 60 votes it needs to pass.
And as of today, Rubio’s right.
Granted, the Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to begin debating the Gang of Eight’s immigration overhaul – 84-15. But that was expected, and it’s just the start. There is nowhere near as much agreement on the reform bill itself.
Even before the infamous sequester, the sequence of congressional appropriations measures held tremendous significance. By passing the defense appropriations bill last, big-government lawmakers could typically increase spending on the 11 other measures above their allocations while knowing the legislative and executive branches would never squeeze defense spending to fit within the overall discretionary spending target.
While different in a post-sequester world, sequencing is even more important to big-government lawmakers determined to violate the discretionary spending caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the failure of the so-called super committee.
This delicate dance began in earnest this week. CQ Roll Call (sub. req’d) reported:
Appropriators approved the bill (HR 2216) by voice vote [in committee in May], and there is expected to be broad support for it in the chamber. … The largely bipartisan Military Construction-[Veterans’ Affairs] bill would provide $152.8 billion, including $73.3 billion for discretionary spending, a $1.4 billion increase over the fiscal 2013 enacted level and $2.4 billion more than that level after the sequester. The across-the-board cuts affected military construction accounts but not veterans’ spending. (emphasis added)
Because of the sequester, the discretionary spending cap for FY14 is lower than the FY13 cap. If appropriations for MilCon-VA increase as total discretionary spending decreases, other appropriations measures will have to be reduced by even more.
If this is a good faith effort to reallocate and prioritize federal spending, subsequent appropriations bills brought before the House will follow the levels outlined in the chart below.
This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) set the record straight:
We’re not going to need a [disaster relief] bill. … Most of the property damage was insured. This is a 250, 300 million dollar cost for the federal government out of the FEMA fund … [this is] Washington creating a crisis when none exists; when we have $11.6 billion sitting in the fund… [transcript]
Most of the fiscal hyperbole surrounding the massive tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma was generated by big-spending politicians and reporters looking for eye-catching headlines.