Before I launch into the big ol’ mess o’ derp that is the U.S. Congress, I want to say something to pro-immigration reform activists. Yesterday a group of more than 100 religious leaders and immigration activists were arrested in Washington, DC, after they refused to clear a sidewalk where they were rallying. Coming on the same day Congress had an immigration meltdown and failed to pass even a watered-down bill to meet the border crisis, aka the Great Toddler Invasion, these arrests should have made a big splash. Given the Bigger Asshole rule, how was this ineffective?
Because the activists were not protesting Congress; they were protesting the White House.Â Duh, foolish activists.
On to Congress: After weeks of smirking that the President was failing to lead on the border crisis issue, Washington Republicans in the House and Senate showed a degree of resolve and maturity that proved toddlers aren’t just at the border. I’d like to send them all commemorative sippy cups.
Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter explains what happened yesterday:
Keep in mind that the bill the House was supposed to vote on yesterday was already a deeply slimmed-down version of President Obamaâ€™s request for $3.7 billion to supply more border officials to deal with the influx, and facilities for the children, and, most especially, more judges to hear the childrenâ€™s claims for asylum as refugees. The House bill offered only $659 million, which is no small change, but in DC it is a rounding error. And, to appease his conservative, Tea Party base, Speaker John Boehner also offered a vote on a measure to rein in President Obamaâ€™s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) policy, which has granted certain legal protections from deportation to half a million Americans who were brought across the border as children. That measure was not destined to go anywhere, but at least the Tea Partyers could tell the folks back home that they tried and blame it on the Senate or the President that DACA was not ended.
Note that the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals policy only applies to people who entered the country before June 15, 2012, so it doesn’t have anything to do with the current crisis.
But, the Tea Partyers were having none of it. After a night of pizza and Dr. Pepper in the office of Sen. Ted Cruz, the hard core caucus refused to back Boehnerâ€™s bill. Democrats were not going to support it either because it had cut back on providing the funds needed, and would have fast-tracked the deportation of these children. So, Boehner pulled the bill before letting it go to a vote that would have failed. …
… In case you think the U.S. Senate is a paragon of reasonableness, they failed also yesterday in their efforts to pass a $2.7 billion appropriation to deal with the border issue. The bill failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a threatened filibuster.
Do read all of Winters’s report, and also Eugene Robinson.
I understand the House is going to try again today to pass something regarding immigration. We’ll see.