Between President Obama’s threats of bypassing Congress and House Speaker John Boehner opening the possibility of passing bad laws in the House, Americans who oppose amnesty have their work cut out for them.
Boehner said Tuesday that he would not rule out the ENLIST Act — a bill that would exchange amnesty for military service — coming to the floor for a vote as a stand-alone bill. Heritage Action explained previously that the ENLIST Act should not be passed either as a stand alone bill or as an amendment to the NDAA, a defense policy bill.
Proponents of the WRDA legislation have made much about the legislation being “earmark free.” Now while the bill seems to comport with the current earmark moratorium, it does fund or expand previous earmarks. A headline in the Washington Examiner this morning said it all: Earmarks may be dead, but pet projects live on.
For instance, the bill increases the cost share for the Olmsted Lock and Dam in Kentucky from 50 percent to 85 percent. This project was first authorized in 1988 at a cost of $775 million, and it is still not finished and now costs $2.9 billion. Why would the federal government take on more of the burden of the project? The WRDA bill has 34 expansions (authorization for construction) and 8 project modifications (increases in spending) to existing projects in the Army Corps of Engineers’ list of projects, but the real danger is the earmark-like process it sets up to authorize new projects going forward. Heritage Foundation analyst Emily Goff cautioned:
This week, the House will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Conspicuously missing as an amendment to the bill is the ENLIST Act, which would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain amnesty in exchange for military service.
If you’re thinking that amnesty has no place in a defense policy bill, you’re instincts are right. But a look at the battle that was waged over the past couple weeks to stop this misstep demonstrates that were it not for conservative opposition, that’s precisely what Washington politicians would have done.
Washington lawmakers are pushing for a House vote on legislation (H.R. 435 and H.R.2377) that would grant amnesty to those living in the United States illegally in exchange for military service. Having served in the United States Marine Corps, I can attest that this is a misguided approach. Amnesty is wrong and undermines the rule of law by encouraging future unlawful immigration. This proposal would add insult to injury.