This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 28th, 2013:
The founders would be proud. The Constitution has created gridlock over the Senate’s immigration bill, which will prevent this travesty from ever seeing the light of day over at the House. Many claim the Constitution is dead. Not according to House Speaker John Boehner:
The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We’re going to do our own bill through regular order, and it’ll be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people. For any legislation … to pass the House, [it] is going to have to be a bill that has the support of a majority of our members.
James Madison, who said that “ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” would be pleased.
The left was ecstatic over the Senate’s 68-32 vote passing its bill. NBC News called it “sweeping” and “historic,” offering a “pathway to legal status and eventual citizenship” for illegals. The Senate gallery was full of those illegals shouting their support for the bill, while the chamber itself was filled with rhetoric, “personal appeals,” and “compassion,” according to the News. Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the “Gang of Eight” who birthed this monstrosity, waxed eloquent: “Pass this bill and keep the American covenant alive”, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked memories of the late great liberal Ted Kennedy:
Senator Kennedy knew the day would come when a group of senators divided by party but united by love of country would see this fight to the finish. That day is today.
It was sound and fury, signifying nothing. As Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) put it: “The Senate is producing something where basically it’s unified Democrats [and a section of Republicans]. That formula isn’t going to work over here….”
Even if Boehner cobbles together something that looks and sounds different, Democrats in the House are already saying: our way or no way. Some have evoked political retribution in the upcoming elections if members of the House don’t go along, but only about one in 10 House districts are being hotly contested next year, and few of them have any significant Latino presence. As Marshall Fitz of the pro-immigration Center for American Progress put it: “There [may be] Republicans who want to get this done, but [they] can’t see going back to their home district and defending it.”
Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, on the losing end of the vote, said that even in winning the vote, the Democrats lost their primary objective: getting 70 Senators to vote for it as a way to pressure the House to pass their measure:
Sponsors of this legislation, despite the array of financial, establishment, and special-interest support, failed to hit their target of 70 votes. The more people learned about the bill, the more uneasy they became.
Failure to reach 70 votes is significant, and ensures [that] the House has plenty of space to chart an opposite course and reject his fatally flawed proposal.
South Dakota Senator John Thune joined Sessions in voting against the bill, saying:
Instead of proving to the American public that Congress is serious about border security and enforcing the laws already on the books, the final Senate bill gives weak promises on border security, leaving many aspects of implementation to the discretion of the Homeland Security Secretary.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz noted that it was forced through the Senate:
It was written behind closed doors with special interests. In the Judiciary Committee, the Gang of Eight and Democrats blocked all substantive amendments because of a previously cooked deal – and on the Senate floor, the majority blocked any attempts to fix the bill.
This bill won’t fix the problem with our immigration system; it will only encourage more illegal immigration….
Most incisive about how sausage is made in the Senate, according to Utah Senator Mike Lee, was when he said the bill got it backwards: putting illegals on the “pathway to citizenship” – forgiving past sins while ignoring those legally waiting in line to become citizens – before securing the borders:
What they’re trying to do here … is to start at the front end with a pathway to citizenship for those who have broken our laws. What this bill is going to do is grant amnesty to 11 million people, perhaps more, and it’s going to make promises about visa modernization and border security [in the future].
Those things will be accomplished, if at all, only many years after we’ve already put 11 million people on a pathway to citizenship that’s virtually certain.
There’s plenty in the Senate bill not to like, including turning the borders into a police state with drones and other surveillance monitors, further restricting the rights of American citizens, according to Ron Paul.
The main point here, regardless, is this: the genius of the founders continues to protect Americans from an overwrought liberal majority trying to inflict its progressive agenda unilaterally onto the country. Evocations of compassion and appeals to memories of dead liberals mean little in our system of checks and balances. With any luck at all, Boehner and friends might just be able to put this whole matter off indefinitely, letting the next Congress to be elected in 2014 deal with it. With any luck at all, that new Congress might reflect more common sense on the issue of immigration.
Gridlock. It’s a beautiful thing.