The Corner

“Illegals’ tax deal could kill bill”

From the Washington Times:

The long-fought Senate immigration bill that opponents say grants amnesty to 10 million illegal aliens is unconstitutional and appears headed for certain demise, Senate Republicans now say.

A key feature of the Senate bill is that it would make illegals pay back taxes before applying for citizenship, a requirement that supporters say will raise billions of dollars in the next decade.

There’s just one problem: The U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits revenue-raising legislation from originating in the Senate.

“All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” according to the “origination clause” in Article I, Section 7.

Republicans — including the bill’s supporters — say this will kill the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he’s offered a simple solution. He wants to attach the immigration bill to a tax bill that has already passed the House. It would then proceed as planned to a “conference committee,” where negotiators from the House and Senate hammer out differences between the two chambers’ immigration bills.

“This is a procedural issue that we could overcome,” said Carolyn Weyforth, spokeswoman for Mr. Frist.

But Minority Leader Harry Reid won’t go along with that fix. His office said yesterday that the concerns raised by Mr. Frist and House Republicans are “technical in nature” and can be ignored.

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