EDITORIAL: A trap by the Senate

Have they got a deal for the Republican House

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Fresh from their Fourth of July recess, House Republicans will huddle to figure out what to do with the immigration turkey the senators dropped off as they were leaving town. Rank-and-file Republicans will have a chance to vent with leaders at a closed session on Wednesday and tell them of the earfuls of complaints and pieces of mind they got from their constituents about the amnesty bill.

The best thing the House Republicans can do is to let the turkey die the death it deserves. As much as immigration policy needs reform, the Senate’s idea of granting citizenship to the estimated 11 million lawbreakers is not the right way to do it. A bad cold is preferable to a cardiac arrest.

So far, the House has been smart, treating component parts such as border security, in separate, stand-alone bills rather than a jumbo “must pass” piece of legislation introduced at the last minute so nobody has a chance to read it.

Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer knew the key to success was ensuring the bill that passed the Senate receive as little scrutiny as possible. They went with the Gang of Eight to ram through a 1,200-page measure with vague press releases that enticed 14 wobbly Republicans to go along and give cover for the 54 Democrats who see no downside to expanding Democratic voting rolls with the promise of “free stuff.”

Sen. John McCain, the Republican face of comprehensive immigration reform, insisted on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, “We are not trying to dictate what the House of Representatives … should do, and I believe that if they can come up with a bill we would be more than eager to negotiate with them.”

It’s a trap. House Republicans are incapable of cutting a deal with Senate Democrats and President Obama without settling for the short end of the bargain. A House Republican is a used-car salesman’s dream. Witness the phony debt-ceiling and sequestration drama that left America $16.7 trillion in debt, with Mr. Obama spending $18 billion more this year despite all of the “drastic cuts” that the GOP “won.”

If the House passes such a bill and negotiates with the Senate, it’s easy to foresee weak and compliant Republican conferees, negotiating from strength, browbeaten and intimidated into empty border-security promises in return for immediate amnesty for the estimated 11 million. It’s the reliable Democratic formula, used over and over because it works.

Whatever emerges would sail through the Senate and face an up-or-down, unamendable vote in the House. It would then require only 17 Republican weaklings in the House to defect to the Democrats for the measure to become law. Charlie Brown would once more lie on his back, looking up at Lucy grinning at him, with the football tucked triumphantly under her arm.

President Obama would eagerly sign the legislation into law, flanked by several housebroken Republicans who had taken another step with him to complete his “fundamental transformation” of America. The greatest fear the White House has right now is that House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, will decline to take the bait and let the amnesty bill die.

Unlike the debt-ceiling negotiations, the country will suffer no calamity should Mr. Boehner choose not to act. The only leverage the administration has over him is the power of liberals in the media to paint him as an unenlightened obstructionist. Mr. Boehner must stand firm and opponents of comprehensive immigration reform must be prepared to man up, to take their demonization and do what’s right for the country.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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