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Steve King: Congress Might Censure Obama Personally



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Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) suggested that immigration hawks might push to censure President Obama for issuing the executive orders that he unveiled this evening.

“That would be a direct message to the president,” King told a CNN panel, after suggesting the milder rebuke of a bill disapproving of the orders.

“I don’t want to do the last thing, I don’t want to do the I-word, nobody wants to throw the nation into that kind of turmoil,” King said, while refusing to rule out impeachment finally.

Nancy Pelosi proposed that the House censure Bill Clinton in 1998 as an alternative to impeachment.

“The power of Congress to censure is an obvious corollary of the legislature’s inherent power as a deliberative body to speak its mind,” the California Democrat said at the time.

The Critique from the Left



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I imagine that most left-wingers will rally behind the president’s immigration policy, especially since it appears to be a minority position. But some of them will be complaining that the president didn’t go far enough. And we should take a moment to appreciate that they have a point. The moralizing language Obama used, which essentially cast attempts to enforce the immigration laws as acts of indecency, is hard to square with the limits that he set. We shouldn’t rip families apart, he said–unless some of their members came here recently. We should give people a chance to get right with the law — unless they come here illegally in the future. To treat illegal immigrants as illegal immigrants is to “oppress the stranger” — and we’re going to keep doing it to several million of them. The policy and the rhetoric are at war with each other. If the rhetoric is taken seriously, the limits will go.

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Illegal Immigrant Tells CNN She Was Inspired to Cross Border by Obama Amnesty



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An illegal-immigrant woman at a border bus stop in Mission, Texas, told CNN that she was inspired to cross into the United States now because of the impending amnesty being offered by President Obama.

“Did the possibility of immigration reform inspire you to come now?” CNN’s Alina Machado asked the Central American migrant waiting for a bus ticket on Thursday.

“Yes, that’s right,” the woman said. “That inspired us.”

“Now?” the reporter pressed.

“Yes, now,” the woman replied.

Web Briefing: December 22, 2014

DREAM Activists: Not Good Enough



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A group of activists welcomed President Obama’s unilateral changes to immigration policy by saying that it’s not expansive enough.

“Today’s victory is tremendous, but to be real, it is incomplete,” United We Dream managing director Cristina Jimenez said Thursday evening. “But too many of our parents, LGBTQ brothers and sisters and friends were left out. United We Dream doesn’t agree with that decision and we are determined to fight for their protection. Our community sticks together. This is a long-term struggle. We will continue organizing until our entire community can come forward and enjoy the full rights of citizenship.”

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Jim Costa Manages to Beat Out Johnny Tacherra in Unexpectedly Tight CA-16 Race



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California dairyman Johnny Tacherra surprised many national observers by taking a lead over longtime Democratic congressman Jim Costa on Election Night in a race that wasn’t supposed to be close. But now that three counties have tallied remaining provisional and absentee ballots in the weeks following, it looks like Costa will head back to Washington, and Tacherra back to the farm that has been in his family for three generations.

On Wednesday, officials from Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties announced their final totals, giving Costa a 1,319-vote victory over Tacherra. When Tacherra left for Washington last week to participate in freshmen-member orientation, he led Costa by 741 votes. Costa managed to close the gap with a strong showing in Democrat-leaning Fresno County, and by narrowing the margin in the more conservative Madera and Merced counties through the remaining ballots versus the turnout on Election Day.

As I wrote about Tacherra, he managed to make a seemingly out-of-reach race surprisingly competitive by reaching out to — and winning over — traditionally Democratic constituencies. Coupled with the district’s souring on Costa, Tacherra looked poised for a potential upset after receiving no financial backing from national Republican groups. Next cycle, Republican will surely give California’s 16th congressional district more attention, especially if Tacherra decides to jump in again.

President Orwell Must Act Because ‘the Undocumented Have No Way to Correct Their Immigration Status



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The White House has put out a memo about the president’s imminent amnesty speech. (Breitbart’s Matt Boyle learned that the administration leaked it to a friendly pro-amnesty group and wrote about it, here.)

There is more to say about the memo than I have time for right now — I’ll be on The Kelly File tonight to offer analysis of the speech. But the first paragraph is striking in what it conveys about the president’s core assumptions. In it, Obama’s minions claim:

Millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to correct their immigration status under the law.

First, there is nothing incorrect about the way our law defines the illegal immigrants’ status. They are illegal — i.e., their presence in the United States is in defiance of our laws. That is not a mistaken categorization that needs to be corrected, nor is the illegality bleached away by referring to the aliens as “undocumented.” The law is perfectly clear and the aliens are in violation of it. They are not seeking a correction of their status; they are seeking a change in the law. Even if we concede for argument’s sake that the law should be changed, only Congress can do that. President Obama has no power to change the law — and he doesn’t acquire such power by pretending that we are talking about a “correction” rather than newly enacted law.

Second, to claim that the illegal immigrants “want to play by the rules” is absurd. If they want to play by the rules, no one is stopping them. They could leave the country and apply for lawful admission and residence in accordance with the existing rules (under which the United States generously admits more immigrants than any country in the world). The illegal immigrants self-evidently do not want to play by the rules. They want the rules to be changed. Again, you can argue about whether the rules should be changed; but you can’t credibly argue about who has the power to change them — that’s Congress. The president has no such power. 

Poetry



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ANGELICO’S CRUCIFIXION

Tempera and gold on wood, circa 1445
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue

Here is faith’s erotic life,
Prayer’s unfallen touch, whose brushstrokes hold
Strange virtues even now to halt
And hush our steps beneath the Cross of Love:

Magdalen staggers at the foot,
Her hair and dress a flame, her back to us;
In rapt obedience in her mantle’s
Quiet blue, Mary seems small for her fate;

By hours the painter would have prayed
Like Dominic, as if his knees were stone,
Low as the earth His blood does stain,
Adoring heaven’s patience without pride;

Knowing that truth becomes a book,
Augustine reads, his mother simply sees;
The Lord’s beloved disciple sways
As one whose heart for joy or sorrow broke;

Francis, Thomas, Elizabeth
Perfect the number of this hallowed guild,
Who light a place where loss is gold,
So bent by love we hesitate to breathe—

Or else might feel perversely pressed
To scatter those proud saints like little birds
And batter down those brutal boards
And glide away with head bowed like a priest.

— This poem appears in the December 8, 2014, print issue of National Review.

Rendering (Rather Too Much) Unto Caesar



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The Washington Post reports (my emphasis added):

The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”

After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.

So far, about 30 churches have applied. Forestville Redeemer was the first. They are planning to install rain barrels, build rain gardens, plant trees and, perhaps, replace their blacktop with permeable pavement. The government will cover most of the cost. In return, a fee that was estimated at $744 a year will be reduced to “virtually nothing,” Ortiz said.

Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations….

The Administration’s Legal Case for Amnesty



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Here, from the Office of Legal Counsel, is the administration’s legal case for the president’s executive amnesty: 

 

Republican Leaders Urge Restraint



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Restraint. That’s the attitude Republican leadership is urging the party’s rank and file to adopt ahead of the president’s issuance of an executive amnesty for approximately 5 million illegal immigrants tonight.

While Texas senator Ted Cruz is calling the president a monarch and urging Congress to respond to an amnesty by refusing to confirm any of the administration’s nominees when the 115th Congress convenes in January, and Alabama senator Jeff Sessions and others are looking to withhold funding from various federal agencies, House and Senate leaders are showing little appetite for those sorts of fights.

They’re also not offering an alternative strategy of their own, a frustration that many across the political spectrum expressed the last time a government crisis loomed, and when Cruz and his cohorts filled the vacuum and shut down the government.

In remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday, Mitch McConnell, who will become the Senate majority leader in January, promised a forceful congressional response to the president’s actions, but declined to endorse any particular response or to outline one of his own. “If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act,” McConnell said. In a video response posted to YouTube early Wednesday evening, House Speaker John Boehner said the president is acting like a “king” and an “emperor” but, like McConnell, did not endorse any of the strategies floated by his colleagues or articulate his own. 

McConnell’s deliberate lack of clarity left many scratching their heads. “I think what you’re going to see McConnell doing is urging restraint,” one Republican lawmaker says. A McConnell aide seemed to rule out entirely the possibility of thwarting nominees put up by the administration. A McConnell spokesman pointedly refused to endorse the Cruz strategy. 

GOP leaders have also expressed an aversion to withholding funding from various congressional agencies or using stopgop spending bills to fund the government. Since early November, when Arizona congressman Matt Salmon began circulating a letter to his colleagues demanding that House appropriators exclude funding for work permits and green cards in any funding bill that’s sent to the president’s desk, leaders and their aides have worried that the tactic would lead to another government shutdown. Now, House appropriators are saying they simply can’t withhold funding from the federal agency tasked with carrying out the president’s executive order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, because it is funded automatically regardless of congressional action. 

The one avenue Republican leaders have not ruled out, either explicitly or implicitly, is a lawsuit — in particular, adding the amnesty to Boehner’s lawsuit against the president, which is already underway. So, as Republican leaders worry the right flank of their caucus will indulge in overheated rhetoric and bring the government once again to the brink of a shutdown, conservatives are concerned that their leadership’s response to tonight’s announcement will be chest-beating statements with no follow through.

Leaked WH Memo: GOP Has Until Early 2015 to Block Obama’s Amnesty



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President Obama will unveil his executive orders tonight, but a leaked White House document suggests that Republicans have until early next year to block implementation of the plan.

“The U.S. government — and specifically USCIS – will not begin accepting applications until early 2015,” says the memo, which was published on Scribd by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. “While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more.”

Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) believes that Congress must intervene before the program is implemented. “It’s kind of like saying I will collect the feathers once they’ve been released into the wind,” he tells NRO in my forthcoming piece. “I don’t regard that as a reasonable possibility and so I think we have to try to stop him from issuing them in the first place.”

Retiring senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.) says that next year’s GOP-controlled Congress could vote to withhold funding for the plan.

“That’s not uncommon that there’s amendments saying ‘none of the funds in this appropriation bill may be spent for’ — fill in the blank,” Levin told NRO on Monday. “That’s not bringing down the government. That’s a fairly traditional, targeted approach to make a policy point.”

Well, Yeah



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See Brendan’s montage of the president’s long string of claims that he can’t do what he’s going to do tonight here.

Immigration, Executive Imperialism, and the Myth Of Gridlock



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If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times — divided government means “gridlock.” With Congress in the hands of one party and the presidency in the hands of the other, nothing gets done. In fact, there’s an argument that voters see this alleged “gridlock” as a feature of divided government, where the branches of government act as checks on each other, restraining the most extreme legislation and requiring consensus to govern.

But recent history shows this notion is utterly false, and empirically so. With the explosive growth of the regulatory state, the practical result of divided government — so long as the parties maintain a high degree of unity and neither party is willing to entertain true brinksmanship — is a one-way ratchet of expanding government power, concentrated in the executive branch.

Putting aside immigration for the moment, during President Obama’s first term, his executive branch enacted more than 13,000 new “final rules,” an increase of 5 percent over President Bush’s second term (yes, the government promulgated regulations at an alarming rate under President Bush as well). These rules, which have an impact on different aspects of virtually every American’s lives, are passed with minimal public attention and minimal public consent. Is there a U.S. citizen alive who has the time or knowledge base to monitor and understand 5 percent (or even 1 percent) of these regulations? And these statistics don’t even include any given agency’s less-formal actions, where they use their discretion to target disfavored groups, such as — for example — the IRS’s recent decision to pursue large-scale audits of adoptive families.

Does this seem like “gridlock” to you?

Compounding the problem, the Supreme Court has long granted these same rule-making discretion to “agencies’ constructions of the scope of their own jurisdiction.” In other words, the courts don’t necessarily see themselves as the prime check on an aggressive executive, especially when the regulatory action isn’t seen to impact individual, constitutional rights.

Thus, unless congressional supermajorities exist, the executive branch maintains and exercises a relatively free hand to regulate, stretching enabling statutes to their absolute breaking point in an effort to enact a president’s agenda.

The Obama immigration action takes this one step farther. As Andy McCarthy ably demonstrates, his new immigration action isn’t an exercise of prosecutorial discretion but rather a grant of substantive rights — a grant that flies in the face of the Constitution’s Presentment Clause, which requires bicameral action on legislation followed by presentment to the president for his signature.

There are, of course, numerous ways to overturn executive orders. What is done by a president’s pen and phone can be undone by another president’s pen and phone, Congress can pass legislation even over presidential vetoes, and — if standing exists and the proper case is presented to the courts — a federal court ruling can be effective. But note the practical difficulties in each course of action. Winning presidential elections is no easy task, nor is exercising the political will to revoke substantive rights granted to millions of individuals who have by that time ordered their lives around the executive order’s existence. Congressional supermajorities are elusive (to say the least). And court action is unpredictable, at best.

We end where we began: With the reality that divided government actually empowers executive authority — unless Congress is truly willing to defund the executive branch’s unlawful action. That is one thing Congress can do without presidential action. The president cannot force Congress to appropriate one dime of money to fund his immigration actions.

But is the Republican majority prepared to engage in that level of brinksmanship, with a president unlikely to sign any spending authorization that doesn’t include money for his immigration program? It is interesting that congressional leadership has been so quick to insist that there will be “no shutdowns.” The chattering classes would undoubtedly disapprove, but would voters? The most recent election results show that shutdowns are hardly fatal to Republican hopes, and public perceptions here — involving an unconstitutional and unpopular presidential action — favor Republicans far more than battles over budget numbers.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of Republican lawmakers are deeply dismayed by the president’s lawless acts. We’ll soon see how deep that dismay truly is.

Poll: Immigration Ranks Low on Hispanics’ List Of Priorities



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Immigration policy isn’t one of the top priorities for Hispanic voters, according to a new results of a poll in three key congressional races. The findings, from a survey conducted by the conservative LIBRE Initiative, come as President Obama is expected to announce his administration will grant legal status to millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

The poll surveyed Hispanic voters in races in which a Republican challenger defeated a Democratic incumbent: the Colorado Senate race (Cory Gardner over Mark Udall); Florida’s 26th congressional seat (Carlos Curbelo over Joe Garcia); and Texas’s 23rd congressional seat (Will Hurd over Pete Gallego). The survey found that in all three races that jobs and the economy outranked immigration as a top concern among Hispanics by large margins; the highest immigration was ranked in any race was fourth overall among issues.

For instance, in Colorado, where Gardner and Udall both won 48 percent of the Hispanic vote, 22 percent of Hispanics put the economy at the top of the list, followed by abortion at 10 percent, and health care at 9 percent. Immigration came in at 8 percent. 

Republican Curbelo in Florida did the best among Hispanics out of the three races, winning 63 percent of the Hispanic vote to Garcia’s 37 percent. Thirty-three percent of Hispanics in that district said they ranked the economy as the top issue.

In Texas, Hurd lost Hispanics to Gallego by a 29 percent to 68 percent — the third most popular issue in that district was support for government social programs.

For more on the LIBRE Initiatives findings, click here.

GOP Member: Obama Admin Acting Like an Iran Deal Is Already Done



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The Obama administration is looking to strike a nuclear deal with Iran and, according to a Republican member of Congress, some in the administration have begun to talk like the ink is dry. 

“There have been conversations about ‘After the deal getting done’ by many” the lawmaker says, to the effect that, “after the Iran deal gets done, then we can begin to focus on Assad.” The Iran deal the administration is currently negotiation with its allies would lift international sanctions on Iran and almost certainly allow the country to retain some ability to enrich uranium.

Jake Sullivan, who left Vice President Joe Biden’s staff in August to take a post at Yale Law School, has been briefing Republican senators on the negotiations.

The White House and others, the member says, are already thinking about problems a deal might create. ”We know they’re going to be enriching, so how do you square that with Saudi Arabia and other places?” asks the lawmaker, who emphasized that he was personally uncertain whether a deal would come to fruition soon.

The U.S.’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has been strained of late, and suffered a particular setback last August when President Obama abruptly decided against a military intervention in Syria. The lawmaker described the Saudis’ Prince Bandar as “beside himself” in meeting as he waited for a call from the White House about military plans. “They were watching CNN,” said the lawmaker, “and they realized there was going to be no call.” 

The administration’s interim agreement with Iran expires on November 24, and Republicans on Thursday plan to hold a vote on a measure that would require the president to seek approval from Congress for any new deal with Tehran. 

The White House has contended that its desire to reach a deal with Iran hasn’t impacted U.S. policy toward the removal of Bashar Assad, the Iranian client holding onto power in Syria — a claim the lawmaker says is categorically false.

On Tuesday, Republican senators sent the president a letter expressing alarm about the “weak and dangerous deal” they believe the administration is negotiating and said that the administration is disregarding “clear expressions from the Senate emphasizing the need for a multi-decade agreement” that would require Iran to stop enriching uranium and fully dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. 

Every Republican senator but two — Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Arizona’s Jeff Flake — signed the letter. 

Mayhem and Music



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I have some links, for those interested. Last night, the great Seth Leibsohn and I talked on the radio. We talked about butchery, apocalypse, and other such subjects. To listen, go here. If you would like some musical relief, I have some posts at The New Criterion for you. The first concerns Joyce DiDonato, the American mezzo-soprano. The second concerns Leonard Slatkin, Aaron Copland, and the New York Philharmonic. The third is a review of a performance in Carnegie Hall last night. The San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, played Mahler’s Symphony No. 7.

Seth put some music into his show, too, as he usually does. As usual, it is perfectly apt.

What a Surprise: The Farm Bill Already Costs More than Congress Said It Would



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We’ve been talking a bit recently about how Congress and the federal government deceive the American people about laws and legislation. A great additional example: the claims that were made the last time the farm bill was debated — how it was necessary for middle-class farmers and was going to represent a spending cut anwyay. On the contrary, the farm bill is an unacceptable payout to a small portion of fairly well-off Americans at the the expenses of everyone else, including consumers and younger and lower-income farmers. And year after year, predictions that subsidies will be much more expensive than expected end up being are proven correct.

So we knew this was coming. Reuters reports:

U.S. farmers are about to reap a bumper harvest not just in corn and soybeans but also in new subsidies that could soar to $10 billion, blowing a hole in the government’s promise that its new five-year farm bill would save taxpayers money.

If payments for 2014, the first year the farm bill takes effect, do come in at that level – as some private economists have calculated – they would be more than 10 times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s working estimate and more than double the forecast by the Congressional Budget Office. ….

The farm bill’s new programs were meant to cost the taxpayer less by replacing a nearly two-decade-old scheme of direct cash payments to farmers, which were about $5 billion a year and were made regardless of need.

But the payouts for 2014 now look likely to far exceed that amount.

As the article says, this news won’t get the outrage it deserves because Congress is now controlled by the biggest believers of redistribution to farmers: Republicans.

As always, the biggest beneficiaries are the wealthiest ones. As my colleague Matthew Mitchell explains, “though the average farm has done quite well, it is not the average farm that receives privileges. As demonstrated by [the] chart below, since 1995, 83 percent of subsidy payments have flowed to the largest 15 percent of farms.”


Here’s the Reason column I wrote when the current farm bill was being was debated — I noted that there was no way any money would actually be saved.

You don’t have to be a genius to make such predictions in Washington. The only way to fix this sad state of affairs is to the end all subsidies to private businesses. Farm subsidies are a good place to start (after the Ex-Im Bank is abolished, of course).

Re: Happy Mistakes



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The kids at Vox say that the administration “wrongly” included dental plans in its reports on Obamacare-enrollment numbers, and Charlie has rightfully and righteously heaped scorn upon this luckiest of all lucky mistakes. Maybe Vox should add a “translator” to its battery of “explainers” — in this case, “wrongly” means “dishonestly,” or perhaps “while playing us for suckers.”

In fact, we need a lot of translations. Vox reports that Sylvia Burwell has called the “mistake” (which probably wasn’t a mistake) “unacceptable,” which pretty obviously means, in this context, “not unacceptable.” This is a particular pet peeve of mine regarding the Obama administration, these phony declarations of unacceptability. The president vows that he “will not tolerate” that which he plainly does tolerate and means to keep tolerating. He has no choice but to continue tolerating the incompetence of his administration—the alternative is resigning the presidency.  

It’s a strange thing: The president and his underlings act as though the state of his administration were something that just happened to them, like they were walking down the street minding their own business, whistling “Hail to the Chief,” and a cartoon anvil just suddenly came crashing down on their heads out of the blue, like they are a procession of Elmer Fudds. (A cluster of Fudds? A parliament of Fudds?) They act as though this were all some horrible, unavoidable accident, rather than the consequence of their own beliefs, inclinations, and actions.

It may be that at some point, Vox et al. will decide that they’re tired of being lied to, or at least embarrassed about it, and that there will be some sort of spontaneous and contagious outbreak of journalistic self-respect among the president’s much-abused apologists. But, so far, there’s not much sign of that.

Liberals and Caesarism, Ctd.



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A few postscripts on this subject:

1) Some liberals have suggested that conservatives have acted in a self-defeating way: Republicans could have passed immigration legislation where they got something in return for amnesty, but now they will get nothing. Leave aside the important point that political and legislative calculations should not have to be done with the threat of extraconstitutional presidential action in mind. I don’t think the premise of the argument is right. The realistic alternative course of action for the Republicans would have been to pass something like the Senate immigration bill. That bill would have coupled an amnesty with increased enforcement, true, but also with a guest-worker program and a large increase in legal immigration, much of it low-skilled. What Obama is doing strikes me as on balance better than that bill, considered purely as a matter of policy. It is as a constitutional matter that it’s much worse.

2) Supporters of the president’s action have cited executive amnesties offered by Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as precedents; opponents have pointed out that those amnesties were much smaller and were done in furtherance of congressional legislation that had actually, you know, passed; and supporters have responded that these differences do not matter. If the president can give a pass to one illegal immigrant, he has the authority to do it for 5 million; if he can do it to advance congressional aims he can do it to thwart them. This strikes me as a narrowly legalistic, what’s-the-most-we-can-get-away-with way of looking at the question. When President Obama said on previous occasions that he did not have the authority to implement, on his own, an amnesty less sweeping than the one he is set to announce tonight, he didn’t cite a specific legal text that tied his hands. He asserted that policymaking by him in this area would break with our constitutional tradition: that it would be inconsistent with our political system. If you’re thinking about the question from the standpoint of how to faithfully execute the law, that conclusion just seems to me, as it once seemed to him, to be obviously correct; and the size and political context of the executive action just as obviously matter.

One of the reactions I’ve gotten this week from supporters of the president is that nobody complained about the Reagan-Bush actions, so nobody should complain about Obama. It seems to me that this is like saying that if you let a friend borrow a pencil you shouldn’t mind if a stranger steals your car, because the principle of the thing is the same.

3) There seems to be a little bit of confusion about what Republicans can do. This is because the immigration bureaucracy that would implement Obama’s plan is largely funded by fees. Some Republicans have made it sound as though the bureaucracy is therefore beyond the reach of congressional legislation. This is untrue. There is absolutely no bar to the Republicans’ promoting a bill that keeps the immigration bureaucracy from spending money–however the bureaucracy has raised that money–from implementing Obama’s plan. What Republicans can’t do is force Senate Democrats or the president to go along with that bill. And Obama does not need a bill to fund the bureaucracy to get signed into law, because those fee revenues will still be available without that law. So we should not exaggerate how much leverage Republicans have or say there is a sure way to block Obama. I nonetheless think it is important to make the effort. And I suspect we’ll all have more to say in this space later.

Mike Lee Is Worried About Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Taking The Gloves Off in 2016



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Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) doesn’t believe that the Tea Party movement will be weakened if stars such as Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) and Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) all run for president. But he is a little worried about what would happen if the primary fight between them gets nasty.

“I also hope that they’ll, insofar as some of them become competitors to each other, that they’ll maintain a very civil dialogue between them and they’ll maintain friendships that they’ve built up over the last few years, because we need those,” Lee told National Review Online.

The relationship between Paul and Cruz has worsened since they stood together to mount a filibuster decrying President Obama’s drone strikes program. Just this week, they split over an NSA reform bill. And Paul hired a digital strategist away from Cruz’s political operation.

 

 

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