For months, true immigration reformers have been warning Republicans in the House of Representatives about the perils of going to a conference committee with the Senate on any immigration bill. Having fought these battles for years and witnessed what happened in the Senate as it took up amnesty legislation earlier this year, we know the result of any such conference committee will be amnesty for the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. (plus, by the way, many who were already deported).
Fortunately, it now seems that House Republicans are beginning to take these warnings seriously. The deal struck by House and Senate leaders to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling came at a high cost for House Republicans, who got nothing on Obamacare and only received the promise of a conference committee on the budget. Not surprisingly, since the deal was struck, we have seen more members of the House like Congressman Raul Labrador say that going to conference on immigration with the Senate would be “crazy.” (Politico, Oct. 16, 2013) And just Thursday, Congressman Tom Cole (Deputy Whip of the Republican Conference) told reporters that House Leadership currently has no plans to vote on immigration this year.
However, if there are any House Republicans who are still thinking a conference committee on immigration might be a good idea, a preview is indeed available. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did an extensive interview with the Las Vegas National Public Radio station, KNPR. In that interview, Senator Reid not only calls conservative House Republicans “insane” and “bullies,” he also makes it abundantly clear that he has no intention of negotiating with Republicans on any of the budget issues they consider most important.
So, if Republicans are thinking about an immigration conference committee with the Senate, they should consider this clip, in which Senate Majority Leader Reid calls Republicans who wanted to defund Obamacare “insane”:
KNPR: “Was there no other way to break the deadlock earlier?”
Reid: “… It is really hard to try to be rational and logical with people who are illogical and not rational. Take one thing as an example. Albert Einstein said the true definition of insanity is someone who does something over and over and over again and expects a different result. If Einstein is right, then we have a bunch of insane people in the House of Representatives. And…we found that they voted 45 times, the same vote, always the same result, to defund Obamacare. That’s what I was dealing with. With people who are totally driven by Ted Cruz and these other people who are not in the mainstream of the Republican Party or in the mainstream of any party, except the Tea Party. And that isn’t what America needs.”
In the following exchange, Senator Reid says that he was too lenient in past budget negotiations and says he will no longer do business with “bullies.”
KNPR: “This is a very different set of affairs than from 2010, when Democrats made concessions in renewing the Bush tax cuts that year. There were even a few concessions made in 2012. Do you wish looking back on it you had said no concessions in those earlier negotiations?”
KNPR: “Why? Why so? Why so? Is it just, is it just…”
Reid. “…. If you give a bully a dollar today, they want a dollar and a half tomorrow. You cannot do business with bullies. And, it’s taken a while for all my caucus to come to that understanding. And I think quite frankly, the President, the wonderful man that he is, doesn’t like confrontation and he likes to work things out with people.
KNPR: “So he, was he too lenient in those earlier negotiations then?”
Reid: “The President feels very good about having stuck to our guns and doing the right thing.”
KNPR: “So the President was too lenient in those earlier conversations?”
Reid: “Listen I was part of the deal too. I was too lenient. Don’t blame it all on him.”
Finally, if House Republicans thought the Senate might be willing to address their most serious concerns as budget talks continue this year, consider this clip:
KNPR: “Ok Senator, but if I could ask, what would you want Republicans to concede on in order to come to some kind of an agreement, if you were willing to look at Medicare and Social Security? What do you want from the other side?”
Reid: “You keep talking about Medicare and Social Security. Get something else in your brain. Stop talking about that. That is not going to happen this time. There is not going to be a grand bargain…. [T]he Republicans are going to have to retake their party or it will never happen. [Republicans] have their minds set on doing nothing, nothing more on revenue [raising taxes] and until they get off that kick there’s not going to be a grand bargain … There’s not going to be a small bargain….”
Call me crazy too, but no one listening to these comments could possibly conclude that the Senate Majority Leader has any intention of negotiating on anything. Period. And if this is how Senator Reid approaches the budget negotiations, why would Republicans ever expect him to approach an immigration conference committee any differently? He won’t. For Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Senate amnesty bill will be the beginning and end of all negotiations. So, if House Republicans are foolish enough to go to a conference committee with the Senate amnesty bill, the only thing they should expect to walk away with is the Senate amnesty bill.