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“A Party In Search Of A Policy”: Republicans Don’t Seem To Want To Do Anything Except Stop Obama From Solving Problems

If anger were a legitimate substitute for public policy, Republicans would be in excellent shape in the middle of a debate on immigration. The GOP has stockpiled enough rage, fury, insults, and red-hot disgust to last a lifetime. There isn’t a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that the entirety of the Republican Party is experiencing genuine, 100%, Grade A outrage.

What Republicans don’t have is a policy.

Or anything resembling a serious, substantive approach to the issue at hand.

A few days ago, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a strident, right-wing voice in his party on immigration, sat down with Mark Halperin, who asked what the congressman would do about the nation’s immigration challenges. Huelskamp dodged, so Halperin, to his credit, followed up, pressing the Kansas Republican to explain what he’d do about the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Huelskamp dodged again. So Halperin asked a third time, and the Republican would only say, “I want to know how many folks are here. I want to secure the border.”

It was uncomfortable to watch – the far-right congressman was clearly lost – but it was a cringe-worthy reminder that Republicans still don’t have a coherent immigration policy they’re willing to share out loud. Ezra Klein had a good piece on this overnight.

Republicans aren’t just the opposition party anymore. They are, arguably, the governing party – they will soon control the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures, and more governorships. And the governing party needs to solve – or at least propose solutions – to the nation’s problems. And that means the Republican policy on immigration needs to be something more than opposing Obama’s immigration policies. It needs to be something more than vague noises about border security. […]

There are 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country right now. Congress allocates enough money to deport roughly 400,000 of them annually. Our policy towards the 10.6 million unauthorized immigrants we’re not deporting is that we don’t have a policy. Democrats support a path to citizenship. Republicans don’t support anything.

Quite right. There’s a striking asymmetry, not just between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to presenting policy solutions, but between Republican responsibilities and Republican intentions – they’re a post-policy party with an aversion to governing, which is a problem for a party that has been given broad authority by voters to shape policy and govern.

It’s all painfully obvious, but just as importantly, it’s playing out in real time. This week, for example, a governing party with a policy agenda would respond to White House executive actions by weighing legislation on immigration. The Republican Party, in contrast, is deciding whether to shut down the government until the White House makes the GOP feel better. If that falls short, Republicans might weigh impeachment – and perhaps publish some colorful tweets.

Ezra added, “Even if you think he’s going too far, he at least wants to solve the problem. Republicans don’t seem to want to do anything except stop Obama from solving the problem.”

The GOP wants to present itself as the grown-up party. Republicans see themselves the serious ones who can be trusted to wield power responsibly, unlike those wacky and reckless liberals.

It’d be a less laughable pitch if someone, anyone at all, could identify what the party’s position on immigration policy is.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, November 21, 2014

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Executive Orders, Immigration Reform, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Institutional Treason”: Boehner’s Lawsuit Is Betrayal Of Congress

Republicans have finally filed their lawsuit against the president over implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Actually, the president isn’t a respondent; the suit names the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Secretary. It’s still a horrible idea.

Michael Lynch and Rachel Surminsky at the Monkey Cage provide one reason: The suit is likely to fail. The first issue is “standing.” To get into court, the House would have to prove that it was damaged by the way the administration carried out the ACA, and courts have consistently rejected that idea. Beyond that, it’s far from clear that the administration’s actions, including the delay of the employer mandate and cost sharing for insurance companies, were beyond the normal discretion the executive branch has to carry out laws. Just because some Republicans want to pretend that before January 2009 presidential power had been limited to pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys doesn’t mean they are right.

And if Republicans win, it would be terrible for Congress.

I’ll say it again: Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans aren’t asking for authority to be returned from the White House to Congress. They want an imperial judiciary that could trump either of the elected branches.

In a system of separated institutions sharing powers, which is what the Constitution created, all three branches do things that look a lot like legislating, but laws can trump administrative or judicial rule making. That gives Congress serious clout within the system. This lawsuit, however, is an abdication of that clout. In effect, it says that the courts, not Congress, should have the last word when there’s a dispute between branches.

Filing this lawsuit amounts to institutional treason. Boehner and House Republicans should be ashamed. The rest of us can only hope that the courts rescue them by keeping to precedent and tossing this lawsuit into the garbage.

Then, perhaps, the House could consider getting back to legislating.

 

By: Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg View, The National Memo, November 21, 2014

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November 22, 2014 Posted by | Congress, House Republicans, John Boehner | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“At The End Of The Day, History Speaks For Itself”: On Immigration, Obama Is On The Right Side Of History

With the President’s recent return from his diplomatic trip in Asia, and the year about to end, Barack Obama is getting ready to sign what many call “one of his biggest political decisions of his presidency.”

In Washington, there are rumors that as early as this week, the President could be taking executive action in regards to immigration.

And even before the President makes a final decision on the matter, Republicans have been attacking the President on his decision to temporarily reform the country’s immigration system, accusing him of abusing his presidential powers and calling the executive orders “unconstitutional.”

Further, some Republicans within the party have said that they would be willing to put the government’s budget for 2015 at risk, and some have even alluded to a possibility of shutting down the government, if the president decides to act on immigration.

This would be a grave and dangerous error, since such actions would put our country’s economy at risk, as well as the credit of the United States.

Lately, Republicans have been using the constitutional argument, day after day, in hopes that the American people will listen.

However, what Republicans fail to mention, is that many former-presidents, many of them Republican, have used executive actions as a method to temporarily reform our country’s immigration system.

In 1987, President Reagan used the power of executive action to alleviate the country’s immigration standards to approximately 200,000 Nicaraguans in exile who were looking to flee their country’s communist regime at the time.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed an executive order alleviating our immigration system for Chinese students who were studying in the United States and potentially ran the risk of being persecuted back in their country of birth.

And if that wasn’t enough, in 2001, President George W. Bush signed an executive order, granting an immigration extension to approximately 150,000 Salvadorians, after their country was hit with an earthquake.

Even though it’s likely that Obama’s executive orders will benefit a much bigger number than the ones previously mentioned, the argument that an executive order on immigration is unconstitutional, is clearly false, no matter the amount of people who will benefit.

At the end of the day, history speaks for itself; the Executive Branch of the United States carries the power of reforming certain parts of our immigration system, as long as such changes aren’t permanent.

If Republicans are so desperate to stop President Obama from using his constitutional powers to solve a problem where Congress has failed to act, they have the power to do so. Its actually very simple: Do your job and pass Immigration Reform.

Time and time again, Republicans have failed to understand that when they attack the President on immigration, it’s not Obama they are attacking, but the Latino Community instead.

So when 2016 comes around and presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle are trying to persuade the “Latino Vote,” don’t be surprised that Republicans will not only loose it, but they’ll be loosing any chance they had of taking The White House as well.

 

By: Jose Aristimuno, Founder, Latino Giant; The Huffington Post Blog, November 18, 2014

November 20, 2014 Posted by | Executive Orders, Immigration Reform, Republicans | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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