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Inside the Beltway: Incubating immigration

It's one big baby: 844 pages of immigration reform legislation is now incubating on Capitol Hill, tended by Sen. Marco Rubio and seven other nervous parents. The so-called Gang of Eight senators who wrote the bill is assuring press, public, advocates and each other that they won't rush the bill along without fair hearings, or shroud it in mystery. Critics, though, aren't buying it.

"Having spent months working on this bill in secret, there is now a clear effort afoot to make sure that the American people do not find out what is in it until after it becomes law," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

"Simply put, Congress has no business even introducing amnesty legislation until the Obama administration secures the border, sets forth clear and transparent metrics to measure its success, and demonstrates to the American people it is serious about enforcing our immigration laws across the country," Mr. Stein says. "Border security and the rule of law should not be held hostage to amnesty for illegal aliens. The fact that Congress has to legislatively order the Obama administration to develop a plan to secure the border should be an embarrassment for this president, not something to be welcomed with pride."

Mr. Stein adds, "The Washington and Wall Street elite have the bill they want. Now it is time for the American people to have their say. Over the coming weeks and months, every member of Congress will have to explain to angry constituents why the interests of illegal aliens and cheap labor employers are being given precedence."

INCUBATING OBAMA

The ongoing debate over gun control is complex indeed unless one happens to be a broadcaster.

"In the case of Obama's gun control push, the networks seemed totally willing to promote the president as someone on the side of the public, a leader who is frustrated by special interests. ABC, CBS and NBC clearly feel only one side of the gun debate matters," Media Research Center analyst Scott Whitlock tells Inside the Beltway.

The networks, he says, offered no forum for those sources who spoke in favor of the Second Amendment, and soft-pedaled the fact that the Manchin-Toomey gun amendment failed, and that it was a clear loss for the White House.

"Surely, a Republican who suffered such a public rejection wouldn't be so lucky," Mr. Whitlock says. He expects more of same as the 2014 midterm elections loom.

"A president's second term tends to include more setbacks than accomplishments. There's a strong chance we could see this type of one-sided coverage play out on other issues. Expect to see defeats ignored and minor victories hyped," the analyst predicts.

LAPIERRE'S WORLD INFLUENCE

Best and worst lists are a mainstay of contemporary journalism. The latest installment is from Time, which has named the 100 most influential titans, artists, leaders, icons and pioneers on the planet. National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is among the leaders named by the magazine, his description written by none other than Ted Nugent, gun rights guy and he-man rocker.

"In the embarrassing culture war of politically correct denial that runs amok today, there is an American warrior, a common man who represents common sense and self-evident truth, and he is Wayne LaPierre. On behalf of the millions of American families who still believe in God-given, constitutionally guaranteed individual rights, Wayne stands firm against the insidious tsunami of dangerous anti-constitutional furor that would further infringe on our sacred Second Amendment," Mr. Nugent wrote.

"Wayne is a sledgehammer for truth, logic and freedom. He is cut from the same cloth as our forefathers who stood on Concord bridge and risked all to give birth to a truly free, independent America. Wayne's voice is the modern shot heard round the world," Mr. Nugent concludes.

See the complete Time list here: time100.time.com.

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RALLYING THE TROOPS

The aggressive grass-roots activists group that grew out of President Obama's 2012 campaign continues to rattle its sword. Organizing for Action is geared up for the 2014 election, and ready to rumble.

"A minority of senators stood with the gun lobby and blocked a proposal to expand background checks for gun sales something that more than 90 percent of Americans support. But that was just round one. We outnumber them, and we can win this if we're as passionate and as organized as the special interests standing in the way," says Executive Director Jon Carson, promoting a public petition to the organization's membership.

"And those senators who decided that not crossing the gun lobby was more important than making our kids and communities safer. OFA supporters will call them out and hold them accountable to their constituents," Mr. Carson warns.

POLL DU JOUR

• 59 percent of Americans oppose gradually raising the age at which people become eligible for Medicare.

• 59 percent favor requiring Americans with annual incomes of more than $1 million to pay 30 percent of their incomes in taxes.

• 54 percent oppose changing the way Social Security benefits are calculated so that annual increases are smaller.

• 51 percent favor raising Medicare premiums for higher-income recipients.

• 45 percent favor limiting itemized tax deductions for individuals earning $183,000 or more and married couples making $223,000 or more.

• 36 percent favor reducing Medicare benefits for seniors with higher incomes.

Source: An AP/GfK poll of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted April 11-15.

• Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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