Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are amused as the panel on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ extols the superiority of a woman president but cannot explain why. They also cringe as the violence in Egypt escalates. And they try to figure out why President Obama is hosting the 1972 Miami Dolphins next week.
Archives for August 2013
The Republican Party remains divided over immigration reform, and one of the biggest sticking point centers on whether to embrace a pathway to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally.
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist is actively lobbying for legalization and says changing immigration policy for high-skilled and low-skilled workers is good for America and for the U.S. economy.
“We need to have an immigration policy that allows us to bring a lot more talent to the United States than the present one. The so-called H1B Visa, visas for people with high skills, should be dramatically increased. We should have quite a number of people who bring talent and skills to the United States and allow them to stay and work,” said Norquist. “You come over, you go to MIT or Cal Tech from some other country. We sell you a great education and then we toss you out of the country and say, ‘Go back to India or China or some other country and start a technology company and compete with the United States.
“Why not let people stay here and work if they’d like to and eventually become citizens. We should be doing a great deal more of that. It’s what built the country in the first place,” said Norquist, who says the same approach should be taken to low-skilled workers who come to the U.S. illegally.
“We have a shortage of people willing to work in farming. We have crops rotting in the fields in those states where they decided they didn’t like immigrants coming and working on farms,” he said.
But would legalizing those immigrants have a positive or negative impact on the economy? Norquist cites a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showing legalization having a net positive effect. However, the Heritage Foundation estimates that the illegal immigrants who would receive legal status would cost the nation a net $6.3 trillion in government programs. Norquist says the Heritage report is based on “phony numbers” and says the CBO report and another done by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin tell the real story.
“It would be a dramatic increase, both in revenue of higher taxes of more people working, way more than any government spending. It just makes sense. If you’re going to grow at three percent a year instead of two percent a year, that’s two-and-a-half trillion dollars in revenue to the U.S. government over the course of ten years,” said Norquist.
Norquist backs stronger border security measures but says the bigger issue is reforming the guest worker program which would reduce the incentive for most illegals. He says President Eisenhower crafted a guest worker program that reduced border apprehensions from one million per year to about 40,000. He says President Kennedy and Johnson then gutted the program as a favor to labor unions and the numbers increased again. He says the same problem happened during the 1986 amnesty debate.
“The most important way to have a secure border is to have a robust guest worker program so that everybody walks through the doors and not try to crawl over the fence,” he said. “Yeah, we should have strong border security. I think that’s useful and helpful, but 90 percent of that is a serious guest worker program.”
Norquist says the Senate bill has a much weaker guest worker program than he would like because Democrats acquiesced to organized labor. He says a House bill would be much better on that front.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Bob Costa of National Review discuss the GOP debate over whether to tie defunding Obamacare to funding the government. They also react to the Obama administration adding another unilateral delay to the implementation of Obamacare. And they share their thoughts on “birtherism” being raised at a GOP town hall.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are happy to hear Democrats say they plan to run on Obamacare in 2014. They also rip the mainstream media for ignoring several troubling stories about popular New Jersey Senate favorite Cory Booker. And they react to reports that the Obamas’ dog got a separate flight to Martha’s Vineyard.
Summer recess is underway for the House of Representatives without any votes being taken on immigration legislation. That’s fine with opponents of legalizing millions of illegal immigrants, but the lack of action might well be the deliberate strategy of GOP leaders hoping to get a comprehensive bill passed this year.
The National Journal reported this week that House Speaker John Boehner initially wanted something passed before the August recess but then decided to delay the House action to help members avoid a backlash at town hall meetings.
“If they were to do that, they would be violating the Speaker’s absolute promise that he would not bring a bill to the floor that didn’t have the support of a majority of the Republican Party,” said Gohmert, referring to the so-called Hastert Rule by which leadership requires majority support within their own party before moving on any legislation.
That common understanding of the Hastert Rule seems to be getting a new interpretation from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, an ardent supporter of reform. At a town hall this week, a constituent blasted the the GOP over the Hastert Rule and demanded House action on the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill.
Ryan insists he doesn’t want a comprehensive package, but several smaller bills that accomplish the same goals. But he offered a much different method for applying the Hastert Rule.
“Bringing these bills to the floor, we’ll find out,” he said. “It is not, ‘They don’t some to the floor unless we have a majority of the majority,’ because we don’t know if we have a majority until we vote on it.”
Gohmert says that is not the understanding House Republicans have.
“It doesn’t sound like it’s being understood equally by everybody,” said Gohmert, who has high regard for Ryan but says the two are occasionally on “extreme opposite ends” of an issue from time to time. He specifically cites the 2008 debate on the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) in which Ryan strongly backed the Wall Street bailout and Gohmert vigorously opposed.
“There were some good, free market, common sense solutions with giving one bozo from Goldman Sachs $700 billion to go spend like he wanted to,” said Gohmert. “And I think there are better solutions here than what they’re talking about.
“There’s no sense talking about legalization of anybody until you control your own border because you’re inviting people to do exactly what they’re doing, and that is come in numbers 3-5 times more than they were before,” he said. “Secure the border and quit talking about legal status until it’s secure. Then we’ll get this stuff worked out.”
Another blow for border security advocates came this week from Arizona Sen. John McCain, a member of the Gang of Eight, who indicated that he would work to greatly reduce the Senate plan for 20,000 new border agents when the issue heads to a House-Senate Conference. Gohmert says he highly respects McCain’s service to this country, but is disappointed at the senator’s approach to this issue.
“He just doesn’t get it,” said Gohmert. “When you keep trying to do a bill that deals with people illegally in the country and you still haven’t secured the border, then there’s no use having a bill. The president has the money, he’s got the manpower, he’s got the ability, just like Woodrow Wilson did when he completely secured the border.
“He could do it if he wants to and we don’t need to have the administration and people like Senator McCain saying, ‘OK, we’ll put this in the bill and allow him to extort legalization for people that are illegally here or citizenship for people that are illegally here in return for him finally doing the job he is sworn to do,” said Gohmert.
The congressman isn’t sure how big of an issue immigration will be at town hall meetings around the country this month. He says people want the border secured but are otherwise focused on bigger issues.
“They want tax reform like we’ve promised for years. Let’s go to a flat tax. Let’s throw out the IRS,” said Gohmert. “People want to know what happened at Benghazi. People don’t want their government doing any more spying than they are. Those are the issues that I’m hearing more from, except for those that are getting paid to make a big deal out of trying to legalize people that are illegally here.”
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Katrina Trinko of National Review cheer the Republican National Committee for warming up to the idea of having the national convention earlier in the summer in 2016. They also shake their heads as Vladimir Putin runs roughshod over President Obama once again. And they react to the July jobs report and a poll showing a record number of young adults still living with their parents.
The House of Representatives is backing legislation to strip the IRS of its Obamacare enforcement power in a move the lead sponsor says will protect the privacy of the American people, keep health care neophytes out of our medical system and he hopes it will be another step towards ridding the nation of the law altogether.
The “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act” is sponsored by Georgia Rep. Tom Price, a practicing physician for more than 20 years before his election to Congress in 2004. The Obama health law grants the IRS more than 40 different enforcement powers. Price says the admitted conduct of the IRS in evaluating conservative organizations for tax-exempt status disqualifies the agency from this new role.
“The genesis for it was earlier this spring when the revelations came out about the incredible, chilling tactics of the Internal Revenue Service targeting political groups and targeting individuals for their ideology and then leaking donors to those groups and then targeting donors for audits,” said Price.
“The IRS is the implementation and enforcement arm of the Affordable Care Act and that just ought not be. The American people, by over 80 percent, believe that ought not be the case,” said Price, who says putting more sensitive data in the hands of the IRS is exactly the wrong move.
“The medical information, the IRS will tell you, is not what they’re after. Even though it’s not the focus of what they would be doing, they described what they did in the tax-exempt arena as ‘not necessary’. So it’s just a step to have it be ‘not necessary’ for them to access your health care information. We don’t think that’s acceptable and that’s why we think it ought to be stopped,” said Price.
The bill does not specify which arm of the government would be responsible for implementing and enforcing the law. Price says that would be the administration’s decision but he hopes it would be people who actually know something about health care. But just shifting the bureaucracy is not Price’s ultimate goal. He says the whole law needs to go.
“The Obamacare law is an affront to the American people and certainly will destroy quality health care in this country. At every single turn at which we have the opportunity to move health care in the right direction, we’re going to take that opportunity and this is one of those,” said Price. “What we need to get to is patient-centered health care, which is a bill that we’ve proposed, that allows patients and families and doctors to make medical decisions.”
The legislation Price introduced and he believes is a superior way to address health care reform is HR 2300, “The Empowering Patients First Act”.
The congressman also weighed in on the escalating GOP debate over whether tying the defunding of Obamacare to a continuing resolution to fund the government is the best way to derail the law. Without specifically touting the merits of that plan, Price says any strategy that weakens or eliminates Obamacare is fine with him.
“When this happens is less important to me than that it happens. I’m a plan A, B, C, D, E guy. You’ve got to keep fighting on every single front. You’re never quite certain which one is going to be successful, so whatever opportunity we have, we need to keep pushing,” said Price. “Whether it’s the continuing resolution, whether it’s funding of the government, whether it’s any other piece of legislation that’s coming through, we need to absolutely make sure that Obamacare doesn’t result in Washington’s ability to dictate to the American people what kind of health care is available to them and, therefore, what kind of health care is not available to them.”
Critics of the defunding plan on both sides of the aisle suggest trying to defund Obamacare as part of funding the government will pit the effort to end Obamacare against government functions like paying the troops and issuing Social Security checks. Price says that’s not true.
“The House has already passed legislation that would make it so that the president was able to continue with Social Security checks and paying the troops and the like. That’s a false argument on their side,” said Price, who says that legislation is still awaiting action in the Democratically-controlled Senate.
Betsy Woodruff of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the House of Representatives for passing Tom Price’s legislation that block the IRS from enforcing ObamaCare. They have mixed feelings about McCain saying he doesn’t know whether he would support Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton in a presidential race. And they are disgusted that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner wants the city to pay for his legal fees after revelations of sex scandal.