John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Regular Order on Immigration

Posted on April 26, 2013

The goal for John Boehner and pro-immigration reform House Republicans should be to get a vehicle to conference.

The goal for John Boehner and pro-immigration reform House Republicans should be to get a vehicle to conference.

It is not to pass the perfect bill.  It is not to pass the Senate bill.

The Senate frequently likes to forget about the House.  Those pesky House members, who have to face reelection every two years in districts that are mostly packed with partisans, annoy the Upper Chamber to no end.

But under the Constitution, they have an equal say on all legislative matters.

I support Marco Rubio's bill.  It could be better, like all pieces of legislation.  But I am not a fan of making the perfect the enemy of the good.

And Rubio's bill is pretty good.

So is his sales jobs.  He is fearless.   To go on Mark Levin's radio show (and to be clear, I am not Mark Levin's biggest fan), takes some courage, because alot of conservatives love Mark Levin.

Rubio has gone toe to toe with Rush, with Jim Demint, with Heritage Action, and he is winning the public debate.

I don't think he is winning the debate with the most conservative wing of the party, but he doesn't have to win them over.  He just has to try to neutralize them.

The goal for Senate proponents of the immigration bill should be 70 votes.  75 would be better.  But 70 gets you the momentum you need to make the House take notice.

Rubio has some powerful allies at his side.  The business community is on board.  Major Christian denominations, like the Southern Baptists, are on board.  CATO is on board, as is the American Action Forum.

Those allies need to be engaged with the House right now to convince Bob Goodlatte and the Judiciary Committee that the time for immigration reform is now.

Goodlatte is a smart and thoughtful fellow.  He knows his stuff because he used to be an immigration lawyer.  He was also Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, so he knows how important immigration is to the farm community.

Immigration reform is important for national security because it gets people out of the shadows and into our society.  It is good the economy because we need immigrant labor.  It is good for wages, because illegal immigrant labor drives down labor.

Conservatives have a good point on the costs of amnesty if suddenly 11 million new citizens decide to join the welfare rolls.  This is a big problem, and it needs to be addressed forcefully.

But studies show that the problems with welfare don't come with the first generation.  It comes with the second and third generation.   We need a plan to accompany immigration reform that is targeted to upward mobility, including education and a return to tough welfare requirements that give short time periods to the able bodied.

In any event, the House needs to get a vehicle to conference.  I don't care what it looks like as long as it is germane to the the Senate product and allows the House and the Senate to produce a comprehensive bill in conference.

Gangs in the Senate tend to disrupt the regular order.  But that is the only way to get this bill to the President's desk, in my humble opinion.