Contrary to many pundits’ expectations, congressional Republicans seem to have zigzagged their way to a reasonable position in the ongoing budget battles. To be sure, their clumsy manner of getting there has helped to obscure this conclusion. Nevertheless, the GOP has the better argument in the battles over funding the federal government and raising the debt limit.
When two Republicans, Sam Johnson and John Carter, deserted a bipartisan immigration reform group this month, the death knell did not sound for immigration reform. One group may have collapsed, but 84 House Republicans have publicly voiced support for granting some type of legal status to the 11 million immigrants here in the country illegally, and 20 others have said they would be willing to consider it—many more than what most media reports suggest.
The federal government paid more than $74.6 billion last year to provide 46.6 millions Americans with food stamps. This is an astonishing increase, even for this era of rapidly rising federal spending. Four years earlier the comparable figures were $34.6 billion in benefits for 28.2 million recipients.
In a sharp memo sent this morning to fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill, Senator Jeff Sessions argues that the GOP elite view on immigration--shared by President Barack Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer--is "nonsense." Instead, Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, advises his fellow Republicans to adopt a "humble and honest populism."
At a dinner gathering in Washington last week, the members of Congress in attendance were asked if they think immigration reform will pass this year. The two Democrats said yes, the six Republicans no.
The momentum to restrict Iranian oil exports has stalled, and it is time for Congress to eschew a more gradualist approach and mandate zero oil exports with zero waivers. This, along with more concrete military pressure, could increase the otherwise slim chances for success in expected new talks with Iran. U.S. lawmakers and Obama Administration officials should not fear the impact on the oil market, which can manage a cutoff of Iranian oil revenue better than can Tehran.
Senator John McCain gave backhanded praise to opponents of the immigration bill yesterday.
“We’re not winning this fight,” McCain, a proponent of the immigration bill, reportedly told Virginia-based trade publication Politico. “They are mounting a better campaign than we are — the opposition is.”
We are conservatives who have differed in the past on immigration reform, with Kristol favorably disposed toward it and Lowry skeptical. But the Gang of Eight has brought us into full agreement: Their bill, passed out of the Senate, is a comprehensive mistake. House Republicans should kill it without reservation.