Morning Action: Marriage and Amnesty Are This Week’s Big Questions
AMNESTY. The Senate will hold a test vote today on their amnesty bill. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) wants a vote on final passage before recess and made procedural moves to accomplish that. He has cut off debate and limited amendments to the bill (sub. req’d):
The chamber resumes consideration of an overhaul of immigration laws (S 744) and votes on a motion by Reid, D-Nev., to limit debate on an amendment that makes a variety of changes to the bill, including tying the legal status created for illegal immigrants to heightened border security triggers. Meets at noon with a vote on the motion at 5:30 p.m.
The amendment, modified by Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), is 1,190 pages and incorporates the compromise negotiated between Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Bob Corker (R-TN) (sub. req’d).
The roughly 1,100-page proposal, which is longer than the original 844-page bill (S 744), was formally filed Friday and essentially repeats the base bill with the negotiated changes on border security and other issues woven through. Reid said that barring any further agreement, the Senate will vote on cloture on the bill Thursday and pass the legislation by the July Fourth recess, as he repeatedly has vowed.
Reid nonetheless is already talking about the bill’s passage like a foregone conclusion, even though hundreds of other amendments have been filed and senators have not been able to agree on a list of amendments to vote on.
As we have explained, the bill remains hugely problematic. The process has lacked transparency and openness.
OBAMA. President Obama will meet with business leaders on immigration reform, according to a Washington Post blog. These business leaders were once immigrants; however the blog does not specify whether they came here illegally or legally. This is part of an ongoing effort on President Obama’s part to promote the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill:
Obama has been meeting regularly with stakeholders, including labor leaders, students and Latino and Asian groups, to pressure lawmakers to support a comprehensive Senate bill that would overhaul the nation’s immigration system for the first time since 1986.
MARRIAGE. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down rulings on two marriage cases:
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down several rulings Monday, two of which have the potential to drastically expand the rights of gays and lesbians in the country.
As the term draws to a close at the end of this week, the nine justices still have not released decisions in two highly anticipatedgay marriage cases—Perry v. Hollingsworth and Windsor v. United States—as well as two key cases involving race, Shelby County v. Holder and Fisher v. University of Texas.
In the Perry case, the court is expected decide whether California voters discriminated against gay people when they voted to ban same-sex marriage. In Windsor, the court is weighing whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act—which limits all federal marriage benefits to opposite sex couples–violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.
Where the Constitution is silent, the task of a conscientious judge is to respect the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected officials.
That’s the reality of the discussion right now in America: We’re in the middle of a debate, with neither side’s position “inevitable.” This discussion is healthy for our democratic republic. And it would be wrong for the Supreme Court to shut down this conversation prematurely.
Of course, liberals want the Court to do just that. After President Obama “evolved” on the marriage issue, he called on the Court to declare unconstitutional the view he held for most of his first term. By contrast, when Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) shifted his view on marriage, he explicitly made clear that if marriage policy is to change, it must be through democratic processes.
That’s the difference: Liberals want judicial activism to advance their social engineering.
EPA NOMINEE. President Obama gave a speech Tuesday in which he gave a directive to the EPA to get moving on climate change regulations. Politico suggests this will make Gina McCarthy’s confirmation more complicated and political:
McCarthy’s nomination has been in limbo for more than a month amid intense Republican opposition and GOP questions about EPA transparency. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has placed a standing hold on her nomination and some have raised concerns that Democrats are in danger of failing to garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.
And that was the political reality before the White House announced plans for Obama’s climate speech.
Now, Republicans are in attack mode over the second-term climate plan.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president’s climate change push is “absolutely crazy.” And a Senate GOP aide said Sunday, “It’s beyond surprising that the President will try to do something through executive action that he knows a bipartisan majority in Congress does not support. This is another example of a liberal President who can’t get his way going around Congress (and the people they represent) to attempt to enact his liberal utopia.”
Whether her nomination process becomes more political or not, the bottom line is that she has made clear, through her past statements, that she would likely continue the EPA’s practice of regulatory attack. Several of her statements have been very disturbing. For example, she made this remark with regard to the proper role of the EPA:
But I will tell you that I didn’t go to Washington to sit around and wait for Congressional action. Never done that before, and don’t plan to in the future.
Heritage explains that if this and other statements are any indication of how she would “lead,” her leadership in the EPA would mean more “gloom and doom for the economy with very little to show for it.”
FARM BILL. Heritage explains that the House’s rejection of the food stamp and farm bill is an opportunity to get things right. “The real choice isn’t between something and nothing; it’s between a flawed farm bill and reform,” they state. They also explain what should happen next:
The first step going forward is to separate food stamps from farm policy. Since 80 percent of the “farm” bill is food stamp funding, the legislation is a food stamp bill, not a farm bill. Both farm policy and the food stamp program need to be considered in distinct legislation so that lawmakers can analyze the issues on their own merits.
The second step is to reform the food stamp program and farm policy. There’s simply too much at stake for both taxpayers and farmers to rush through a flawed bill simply for the sake of doing something.