About the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the president on Friday, we have only one question: What were Republican leaders thinking?
If there is any takeaway from the Republican presidential campaign so far, it is that Republican voters are anxious about large-scale immigration and frustrated that the federal government repeatedly demonstrates no interest in doing anything about it. We strongly object to ham-fisted proposals, such as those of Donald Trump, to address these concerns, but it is clear that our thoughtless immigration policies have weakened, and continue to weaken, our economy, our social stability, and our security. Yet instead of responding to those concerns, Republicans sent the president a bill that will exacerbate them.
Meanwhile, they capitulated on a host of other proposals. Despite serious concerns about the integrity of our refugee-vetting procedures in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the bill fully funds the government’s refugee-resettlement program, facilitating the president’s promise to settle 10,000 Syrians in the U.S. over the coming year. Despite revelations about outrageous criminal activity in America’s 340 “sanctuary cities,” the bill permits federal grants to those cities without adding any qualifying conditions. And despite a bipartisan effort to reform the cronyism-riddled EB-5 visa program, under which foreigners can obtain a green card if they invest a certain amount in a business that creates or preserves ten jobs for U.S. citizens, Republican leadership dismissed the reform effort and extended the EB-5 program as is through September.
But this omnibus bill is a clear indication that Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have other priorities.
Editors’ note: This article has been updated since its initial publication.