The Best of the Forge
“We need to finish this bill and we’re going to do it as quick as we can,” said the majority leader of the upper chamber of our nation’s great deliberative body, Congress.
But careful deliberation is the last thing Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) wants. Heritage has forewarned that the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill is everything like Obamacare. And just like Obamacare, this bill is being rushed. We have to pass it to see what is truly in it. Mr. Reid has set an end-of-month deadline for Senate passage of immigration reform, giving the chamber a mere three weeks to debate this highly controversial issue.
In an effort to push the Senate to pass the Gang of Eight’s $6.3 trillion amnesty bill, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is rushing Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to get the so-called “farm bill” off the floor by Saturday. As part of this effort, Reid is obstructing conservative amendments to the “farm bill.” According to reports, he will file a cloture motion and begin the process of ending debate on this trillion-dollar bill.
As we’ve noted, this bill is in serious need of reform; this is true of both the food stamps comprising 80 percent of the spending in the bill and the farm programs comprising less than 20 percent of the spending.
In committee, conservative Senators offered a myriad of amendments that would have improved border security and reduced fraud in our current immigration system. Unfortunately, those amendments were rejected; in fact, several terrible amendments were passed that actually weaken our current immigration system.
For example, one amendment the Senate adopted was offered by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) prohibits Border Patrol from returning illegal border crossers to Mexico during nighttime hours (when crossings generally occur) and require Border Patrol to follow guidelines written by the government of Mexico.
The Heritage Foundation explains that the number of Americans on food stamps is at historic highs. At no other time in our nation’s history has one in seven Americans received food stamps. This high food stamp participation costs American taxpayers nearly $80 billion per year.
Strangely, this spending is authorized by the so-called “farm bill,” 80 percent of which is for food stamps. It would be more aptly named the Food Stamp Bill.
The reason food stamp policy has not been successfully reformed is because food stamps are tied to the farm bill and have been for years. Farm policy has not been properly reformed for that same reason. For too long, food stamps have helped the farm bill get passed, and politicians are well aware and ready and willing to use this to their advantage.
In an effort to make the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill look like a good idea, the bill’s proponents are citing a paper that concludes Social Security will be better off when we grant 11 million illegal immigrants amnesty.
Not so fast.
Heritage’s Rachel Greszler has identified a couple of glaring problems with the analysis, which was produced by the Social Security Chief Actuary. It alleges a $4.6 trillion immigration boon for Social Security’s 75-year financial outlook.
As nice as that sounds, the estimate fails to take into account all future costs.