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April 20, 2014

Posts in "Immigration"

April 16, 2014

Obama Calls Cantor After Day of Immigration Sparring

boehner 197 022714 445x296 Obama Calls Cantor After Day of Immigration Sparring

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | President Barack Obama called House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday to implore House Republicans to hold a vote on the Senate-passed  immigration overhaul, prompting Cantor to say the president hasn’t learned how to work with Congress.

The Virginia Republican’s retort came in the form of a statement on a day of nasty back and forth between the president, Democrats and House GOP leadership over immigration legislation.

Full story

April 15, 2014

Immigration Overhaul: Democrats Look to Flip 30 House Republicans

polis0123141 445x295 Immigration Overhaul: Democrats Look to Flip 30 House Republicans

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are holding out hope that their discharge petition on a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill can still work — or at least be used as election-year ammo.

House Democrats held a conference call Tuesday to announce their intention to distribute a memo in the districts of 30 House Republicans who have signaled support for an immigration overhaul previously. Democrats are calling on these Republicans, and others, to “put their pen where their mouth is,” as Colorado Democrat Jared Polis put it, and sign the discharge petition for HR 15, the companion bill to the Senate-passed immigration bill.

The discharge petition for the House bill currently has 191 Democratic signatures, meaning nine Democrats still haven’t signed on to the effort. There are, however, 200 co-sponsors for the bill, including three Republicans: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Jeff Denham and David Valadao of California. Full story

April 10, 2014

Boehner Hammers Obama Administration Over Benghazi, IRS (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.

During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.

The Ohio Republican also addressed the recent kissing controversy surrounding Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister, saying he had spoken to the freshman Congressman and expects all members to be held to the highest ethical standards.

Boehner said Republicans were “trying to build a consensus” on an Obamacare replacement bill, and were waiting for Democrats to offer an unemployment extension that was paid for and would address the economic problems in the United States.

Boehner’s press conference turned into an outburst, however, when he fielded a question from Fox News’s Chad Pergram regarding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s intimation that he had been treated unfairly because of his race.

Watch the full press conference below:

Pelosi: ‘Race’ Part of the Reason GOP Won’t Act on Immigration (Video)

pelosi 260 102313 445x298 Pelosi: Race Part of the Reason GOP Wont Act on Immigration (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that “race” is one reason Republicans are avoiding an immigration overhaul.

During her weekly press conference, the California Democrat implied there were ulterior reasons Republicans weren’t addressing immigration.

“I think race has something to do with them not bringing up the immigration bill,” Pelosi said. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it was just you, it would be easy.’”

Full story

April 8, 2014

Holder to Gohmert: ‘You Don’t Want To Go There, Buddy’ (Video)

Things got heated Tuesday between Rep. Louie Gohmert and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department.

Gohmert, who was questioning the attorney general about releasing documents relating to the Holy Land Foundation’s 2008 conviction of providing financial assistance to Hamas, then suggested contempt was “not a big deal” to Holder.

“You don’t want to go there, buddy,” Holder quickly shot back. “You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. … Don’t ever think that.”

The Texas Republican was quick to respond.

“So we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of [Operation] Fast and Furious where people died … and we can’t get the information to get to the bottom of that, so I don’t need lectures from you about contempt,” he said.

Gohmert, who last May told Holder not to cast “aspersions on [his] asparagus,”  was at the butt end of the joke Tuesday, when Holder got the last word.

“Good luck with your asparagus,” Holder said.

April 4, 2014

Steve King: Illegal Immigrants Kill Americans Every Day (Video)

Rep. Steve King has been known to make, from time to time, some controversial remarks about immigration — and his floor speech on Friday was no exception.

Speaking to a nearly empty chamber, the Iowa Republican said the result of an immigration overhaul would be more dead Americans.

“Because there’s not a day that goes by in this country that there isn’t at least one American citizen that dies at the hands of someone who’s unlawfully present in the United States, whether it is an act of homicide or it’s an act of willful manslaughter, whether it’s an [Operating While Intoxicated] in the streets of America, hardly anybody has gone through the last 10 years and doesn’t at least show that up in their local newspaper, if it doesn’t show up in their neighborhood. And so Steve King’s not dead wrong. Let’s keep more Americans alive.”

The statement was nothing new for King. He made similar remarks to an Omaha, Nebraska crowd in September, estimating that “multiples of the victims of Sept. 11″ had been killed by illegal immigrants, and in 2006, King somehow calculated that 12 Americans die every day because of illegal immigrants. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 7:11 p.m.
Immigration

ENLIST Act Rebuffed by McKeon, But Denham Wants Immigration Amendment Vote in NDAA

Jeff Denham 22 071411 445x295 ENLIST Act Rebuffed by McKeon, But Denham Wants Immigration Amendment Vote in NDAA

Denham was rebuffed, but will keep trying to attach his immigration plan to other legislation. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon said Friday afternoon there will be no pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military attached to this year’s defense spending bill.

The decision poured cold water on a behind-the-scenes bipartisan effort, headed up by another California Republican, Rep. Jeff Denham, to include such a provision in the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

Denham said he understands the chairman’s decision and predicted there will be opportunities to resurrect his bill, the ENLIST Act.

McKeon, a co-sponsor of the Denham bill, said the timing wasn’t right.

“I have reached this conclusion without regard to my views on the underlying policy, but because I do not believe the chairman’s mark should be the original venue for this debate,” McKeon said. “Over the past several days I have heard from members on and off the committee on both sides of the issues. They have made sound arguments and raised valid concerns.”

Full story

Gutierrez: Obama Ready to Halt Deportations With Executive Orders

immigration hearing018 0205131 445x297 Gutierrez: Obama Ready to Halt Deportations With Executive Orders

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has given the White House six pages of recommendations on how the Obama administration might proceed with executive orders to curb deportations of illegal immigrants.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leading advocate for rewriting the nation’s immigration laws on Capitol Hill, told reporters during a conference call Friday that the CHC had “adopted a very strong memo” of suggestions the day before in advance of a scheduled meeting next Wednesday with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Full story

April 3, 2014

Obama Talks Pope, Ukraine, IMF With Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, McConnell

Updated 10 a.m. | President Barack Obama discussed the crisis in Ukraine, his visit with Pope Francis and other issues with congressional leaders Thursday evening at the White House, according to a readout from a White House official.

The meeting with Congress’s big four — Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — was called by Obama to discuss his big overseas trip and Ukraine.

The White House readout noted the president’s discussion with Pope Francis of immigration and reducing inequality. UPDATE: A Boehner aide said Friday, however, that there was no discussion of immigration at Thursday’s meeting.

Immigration has stalled in the House, and the leaders have been far apart on the president’s agenda to combat inequality, including a minimum wage hike and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Obama also once again urged the leaders to pass IMF legislation, which Boehner has refused to bring to the House floor, and updated the leaders on nuclear security and Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the full White House readout: Full story

Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote (Updated)

energy presser008 032912 445x304 Denham Sees Defense Bill as Vehicle for ENLIST Act Immigration Vote (Updated)

Denham wants an immigration vote in the HASC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4 p.m. | Rep. Jeff Denham wants a vote on his bill that would allow illegal immigrants brought to the country as children to gain permanent residence in the United States in exchange for military service — and he’s got a plan in the works.

The California Republican is looking for Democrats and Republicans who are members of the House Armed Services Committee to sign on as co-sponsors of his legislation, known as the ENLIST Act, a House GOP aide familiar with Denham’s efforts told CQ Roll Call.

“We are working to gather co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle,” Denham spokeswoman Jordan Langdon said in a statement.

The panel is set to mark up the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act in the weeks ahead and Denham, who is not himself a HASC member, needs to shore up support among committee members who would be willing to vote on the ENLIST Act if it were offered as an amendment to the underlying bill.

Denham also needs a lawmaker on the committee to introduce the amendment, which shouldn’t be a problem: Of the 42 co-sponsors of the ENLIST Act, 11 of them are HASC members, including the chairman, Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.

McKeon, however, has not yet committed to supporting efforts to place the amendment into the bill, either in advance of or during the course of the markup, a Republican committee aide told CQ Roll Call on Thursday.

The aide noted that any member of the panel is free to offer an amendment during the full committee markup so long as the language was “solely the jurisdiction” of the Armed Services Committee. Denham’s bill has only been referred to one committee, Armed Services, and would only change U.S. military code, not immigration law — which falls under the purview of the Judiciary Committee.

Full story

April 2, 2014

Democrats Force Immigration Vote at Budget Hearing

immigration 207 032614 445x275 Democrats Force Immigration Vote at Budget Hearing

Democrats, who recently gathered on the Capitol steps in support of immigration, are using committee hearings to continue to push for the issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats Wednesday used a meeting intended to advance House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint to force Republicans into a symbolic vote on immigration reform.

Freshman Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., used an all-day markup convened by the Budget committee to force the roll call vote on the Democrats’ immigration legislation. Cardenas offered the text of the immigration bill as an amendment to Ryan’s proposed 2015 budget.

“This is the only amendment that would create jobs and reduce the deficit in one amendment,” Cardenas argued.

He added, “this is the only vote we can get.”

Full story

April 1, 2014

Highest Ranking Latino in Congress, Xavier Becerra Comes Into His Own

dems004 011414 445x305 Highest Ranking Latino in Congress, Xavier Becerra Comes Into His Own

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, April 2, 1:15 p.m. | In 2001, just shy of a decade in the House, Rep. Xavier Becerra suggested he was more of a policy wonk than a power broker.

“I understand the politics,” he told a Los Angeles Times reporter. “I’m not the best at playing the game.”

Thirteen years later, whether he was being self-effacing or somewhat disingenuous is debatable. But one thing’s become clear in the intervening decade: As a political operator, Becerra’s come into his own.

Full story

March 26, 2014

On Immigration, Republicans Stick Together Against Democratic Move

The House minority’s efforts to take over the floor almost never succeed — and an effort Wednesday by Democrats to force an immigration overhaul onto the floor was no exception.

Democrats touted their efforts to vote against the “previous question” on an unrelated bill to try and force the issue — and highlight the GOP’s failure to act. But no Republicans voted with the Democrats.  Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 6:45 p.m.
Immigration

March 25, 2014

House Democrats to Try and Force Floor Vote on Immigration Overhaul

House Democrats are poised to offer their third discharge petition of 2014 Wednesday, this one to force a floor vote on an immigration overhaul bill.

They’ll need to get 218 signatures on the petition in order to compel GOP leadership to bring up their legislation, which mirrors the Senate-passed immigration bill, except for some tweaks in the border security language.

The likelihood of that outcome is approximately zero: Even the few House Republicans who have broken with their leaders to sign on as co-sponsors to the House bill are not expected to embrace a procedural tactic that would embarrass the majority party.

A CQ Roll Call whip count also shows that there are few members of the House GOP willing to even put their necks out for their leadership’s broad immigration “principles.”

No Republicans have signed onto the Democratic discharge petitions to force votes on bills to raise the minimum wage and extend emergency unemployment insurance, either.

But Democrats will also be touting a Congressional Budget Office report reaffirming that overhauling the nation’s immigration system would cut the deficit by about $900 billion over twenty years, a figure that had lawmakers crowing Tuesday. Full story

CBO Reaffirms: Immigration Bill Cuts Deficit $900 Billion Over 20 Years

tree lighting009 120313 445x288 CBO Reaffirms: Immigration Bill Cuts Deficit $900 Billion Over 20 Years

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that the immigration overhaul being pushed by House Democrats — and nearly identical to the version that passed out of committee in the Senate — would slice the deficit by about $900 billion over 20 years.

In a letter to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., CBO Executive Director Douglas Elmendorf essentially reiterated the CBO’s earlier forecast for the Senate’s overhaul, while noting that the House version, H.R. 15, does not include $38 billion for border security in the first 10 years like the bill that passed the Senate. The CBO has estimated nearly $200 billion in cost savings in the first decade and about $700 billion in the second. Full story

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