MORNING ACTION: The Senate’s Position on Immigration Won’t Affect the House’s Position
AMNESTY. The Senate is poised to pass the Gang of Eight amnesty bill with a supermajority. Those who want amnesty falsely assert that the House will be under immense pressure to follow suit. This is not the case; House Republicans have ignored supermajorities before and they are ready to do so again. National Journal reports:
For months, members of the Senate “Gang of Eight” have been entertaining Republican amendments to their immigration bill in an overt attempt to win greater GOP support for a comprehensive overhaul. Their strategic calculation is simple: The House will feel pressure to act only if the Senate bill attracts a significant number of Republican supporters.
“If we can come out of the Senate with close to a majority of the Republican senators and almost every Democrat, that may change the equation in the House and thinking in the House among mainstream Republicans,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said earlier this month on Meet the Press. “And they may want to go for our bill.”
But as a final vote nears on the biggest immigration overhaul in three decades, House Republicans say the Senate tally will have no bearing on the opposition across the Capitol.
Speaker John Boehner told the House Republican Conference on Wednesday morning that the Senate bill remains “a nonstarter” in the House, according to Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz.
FARM BILL. House conservatives are trying to build support for splitting the food stamps from the farm bill, something we have called for repeatedly, since it will allow Congress to actually reform these flawed programs. Roll Call reports:
A week after a surprising defeat for the farm bill, some House conservatives who helped sink the legislation are trying to build momentum to split it in half, ending years of precedent for passing agriculture and nutrition legislation in one package.
Members made their case in a House Republican Conference meeting Wednesday morning, but they were rebuked by farm-district Republicans who said the group did them a disservice by voting for controversial amendments that cost the bill Democratic support and then voting against the underlying bill.
The plan would split the agriculture language of the bill from the nutrition portion, which deals with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Many Republicans voted against the bill because they think SNAP costs too much and is subject to fraud.
MARRIAGE. Now that the Supreme Court has handed down two important and troubling rulings on marriage in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases, Heritage explains how the states have been affected:
Some key numbers following the decisions:
50 The number of states whose marriage laws remain the same after the Court’s marriage decisions.
38 The number of states with laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That includes California, where the scope of today’s Prop 8 decision beyond the specific plaintiffs will be the subject of ongoing debate and, most likely, further litigation.
12 The number of states that can now force the federal government to recognize their redefinition of marriage. The Court struck Section 3 of DOMA, which means that it must recognize same-sex marriages in states that redefine marriage.
1 The number of sections of the Defense of Marriage Act struck downyesterday (Section 3). Section 2, which ensures that no state will be forced to recognize another state’s redefinition of marriage, is still law.
0 The number of states forced to recognize other states’ redefinition of marriage.
OBAMA and EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency has grown much more powerful under President Obama, according to a study by the American Legislative Exchange council:
It specifically cites the agency’s record number of “regulatory disapprovals” of state strategies to meet federal environmental standards, coupled with a never-before-seen number of “federal implementation plans,” de facto takeovers of states’ blueprints to comply with the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
The study also takes aim at the EPA’s close working relationship with leading environmental groups to rewrite regulations without the involvement of Congress or state leaders, and it accuses the agency of having “severely limited states’ fuel choices” through stricter limits on coal-fired power plants.
“The EPA is supposed to serve as a resource for states, but in the last few years we’ve seen a more nationalized environmental policy,” said Todd Wynn, director of the council’s energy task force. He added that his organization will continue to push “policies to help state legislators push back against an intrusive federal government.”