Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

GOP Leaders Will Block ENLIST Act on House Floor Next Week

Jeff Denham 22 071411 445x295 GOP Leaders Will Block ENLIST Act on House Floor Next Week

Denham’s ENLIST Act hits new wall. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., promised earlier this year he would force a floor vote on legislation to create a legal status pathway for illegal immigrants who served in the military — but GOP leadership intends to thwart that plan.

Doug Heye, a spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., confirmed to reporters Friday that when the National Defense Authorization Act comes up for consideration by the full House next week, Denham won’t be permitted to seek consideration of his amendment, known as the ENLIST Act.

“No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order,” Heye said in an e-mail statement.The news is a blow to proponents who saw the ENLIST Act as an opportunity to do something affirmative on immigration while a complete overhaul of the flawed system remains in an indefinite holding pattern on Capitol Hill.

It’s a win, though, for conservative groups like Heritage Action and the Madison Project, which ramped up efforts this week to let lawmakers know they’d be held accountable for “yes” votes on any NDAA that included ENLIST Act language.

Heye didn’t specify the mechanisms that would be put in place to ensure that the amendment is kept off the floor. The parameters for floor debate on the NDAA typically allow for any germane amendment to receive an up or down vote, and last year, the ENLIST Act was considered germane.

At that time, Denham came to the floor prepared to ask for a vote on ENLIST, but agreed to withdraw the request in deference to Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., who has claimed jurisdiction over immigration issues.

Denham, who tried unsuccessfully to get ENLIST included in the base text of the NDAA mark up in the House Armed Services Committee last week, said he wouldn’t be so accommodating this year.

He and his allies have argued ENLIST is not within the Judiciary Committee’s purview, but rather was referred exclusively to the Armed Services Committee. Advocates say ENLIST would change military code, not immigration law.

Leadership may have put the brakes on Denham’s efforts to avoid a politically loaded vote for members in an election year. There are also concerns a majority vote on the ENLIST Act would go on to sink the final vote on NDAA.

But leaders could have a difficult time making the case that an amendment that was germane last year no longer holds the distinction. House Rules is scheduled to meet on Monday to set up floor debate and make a number of amendments in order for consideration.

  • Atnor

    Good… illegal immigrants do not deserve special exemptions or pathways, and we should not be encouraging such illegal activity with official policy.

  • Desert Rose

    Shame on you Denham, these are ILLEGAL ALIENS, sucking up all the benefits available to AMERICAN CITIZENS who worked all their life for. These suckers sneak over the border and right away they think they are AMERICANS and demand benefits and you want to help them just to get elected. You are scum and are a DEMOCRAT in Wolfs clothing. NO way Jose! Get a life you and the ILLEGALS

    • Richard Sprowl

      He was talking about veterans desert rube, read the damn article !

    • Reasonable

      The ENLIST Act is speaking to young people who were brought over as children. They did not “sneak across the border” but had no say on where they were taken. If they otherwise qualify for military service and are willing to put their lives on the line, I can’t imagine why anyone would prevent them from becoming legal aliens — not citizens. Other than just a knee-jerk response because you hate all immigrants.

      • Atnor

        Which means that US immigration policy is essentially, “Go ahead, sneak in to the country and bring your children. If you hide from us long enough, we’ll educate your kids and eventually allow them to stay here”.

        We’d be rewarding the parent’s illegal activity because we dont want to inadvertently punish kids whose parents make bad choices – but, it still is a reward to those parents and encourages them and future parents to break the rules even more.

        We should certainly fix the system better to keep this from happening in the future – make it much tougher to live and grow up here under the radar. But, those kids need to return to their country of origin and then enter the country via the legal process. That also is a “path” open to them, even if it’s not the easier one I’m sure they would prefer.

  • Leslie Piper

    Hang in, Den…if they want to go into the military and serve well, by God and by this old ex-Green Beret sarg, let them IN.
    And if the pusillanimous narrow-headed small-minded residents won’t welcome them, let those same Bumdy-types enlist and prove their American bona fides.
    Selfish jerks.

  • Jeffery Jones

    As a Navy Vet.,Operations Specialist(OS,radar) who served with Hispanic personnel, who not only had to pass an English language proficiency test but all the math geometrical equations that come with manual computations of ships on the linear surface of the sea,such an individual easily qualifies for American citizenship.This was in the late 70′s at the very beginning of NTDS(Naval Tactical Data Systems),when things were still done by hand for the most part.I say,if a man volunteers to put his life on the line and in the process adopt and master a second language and mathematical prowess,he has the ambitions most Americans would emulate and embrace.He IS a Citizen of America.Time will bear this truth out.Such an individual can not be Denied.

    • Richard Sprowl

      They weren’t necessarily illegals

  • YONATAN C

    THE REPUBLICAN SENATE HAS CONTINUED THEIR WAR AGAINST THE UNEMPLOYED. SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER, 2.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES HAVE BEEN WITHOUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, WITHOUT FINANCIAL MEANS TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN. THE SENATE HAS FAILED MISERABLY TO PASS THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL FOR THE PAST FIVE MONTHS. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE HELD THE EXTENSION BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE, IN ORDER TO HAVE THEIR BILLS PASSED AS WELL. MILLIONS OF FAMILIES HAVE SUFFERED EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WAITING FOR THE BILL TO PASS. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE USED THESE PEOPLE AS BARGAINING CHIPS, AND FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE. THEY HAVE SHOWN A TOTAL LACK OF COMPASSION, AND COMMON DECENCY. THEY NEED TO HELP THESE FAMILIES IMMEDIATELY..

  • ameri…canwork

    In Va.Contractors are audited under The Va. Employment Compensation Act.
    Contractors are losing jobs due to ” Illegal Immigration ” putting employees on unemployment. Now the same ” illegal aliens ” / Unlicensed contractors are not subject to the Va. Employment Compensation Act. When detected they are not referred for prosecution . Time to bring a lawsuit against Virginia and The Va. Employment Commission on the Parallels of the Tabaco Alotment Buyout.
    Go ahead and pass immigration reform , do it . It won’t change what illegal commerce / underground labor market is being fostered by the present Democrat Administration in Virginia.

  • Stephen Barlow

    Obam needs to VETO this NDAA without ENLIST, and call for the END of Afghanistan. Every troop home by halloween. Why wait for the Afghan election? They will only lie about taking our money and funding the Taliban with it.

    That and doubling heroin production should have been enough to end the war in 2009.

    MORE American Terrorist attacks on American Soil occured both BEFORE and AFTER 9/11 than were even threatened by Foreign Terrorists. There are 234 in the HOUSE and 42 in the Senate getting US Government pay and benefits RIGHT NOW!!!!

  • stevenharnack

    Go right ahead GOP, write off the Hispanic vote, who needs ‘em, right?

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