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Let's Ease Up On The Senate's Freshperson Republicans
I think my VDARE colleague Patrick Cleburne's recent plaint about six of the twelve freshman Republicans in the U.S. Senate (Half 2010 GOP Senate Intake Dodged Voting On Immigration -- "Why Cumbereth Them The Ground?) was misplaced. In fact, no Republican in the Senate, of whatever seniority, has had a chance to vote on any immigration-related bill in the current Congress.
Thus Cleburne's piece was a needless downer, and that's important, because our immigration-sanity movement's task is already hard enough. We shouldn't encourage suspicion in the ranks that half of our friends and potential friends in political office are actually turncoats, right out of the gate.
So let's look at the details.
The starting point is, naturally, the NumbersUSA grading system for federal legislators. (Go here, pick a state, and work your way down.)
Cleburne's dirty-half-dozen Repub frosh are Kelly Ayotte (NH), Dan Coats (IN), John Hoeven (ND), Ron Johnson (WI), Rob Portman (OH), and Pat Toomey (PA).
[Actually, Coats returned to the Senate after a two-term hiatus, having previously been a senator for ten years and a congressman before that. Similarly, Portman and Toomey had previously been congressmen, but they're true freshmen in the Senate.]
When you visit the NumbersUSA page for any of those six and click on "This Congress (2011 - 2012)" [leftmost of the three tabs near the top], you'll find the top-level summary "FAILED TO ACT" and the same words in each of the ten subject areas (e.g. reducing chain migration, addressing the anchor-baby problem, and attacking refugee and asylum fraud).
So that's the story on the half-dozen who've disappointed Cleburne. (Of the six, Coats, Portman, and Toomey do have career grades with NumbersUSA, arising from their prior service in Congress.)
But what about the Repub senatorial frosh who received Cleburne's approval: Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), Rand Paul (KY), and Marco Rubio (FL)? What have they done to earn actual grades from NumbersUSA for the current Congress? In each case they've cosponsored S.723 and/or S.1196.
S.723 is David Vitter's (R-LA) bill to end birthright citizenship. The bill has four co-sponsors: Boozman, Lee, Moran, and Paul.
S.1196 is Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) terrific E-Verify-and-all-the-trimmings bill. Among its 11 co-sponsors (all Republican) are Boozman, Lee, and Rubio.
(Roy Blunt, also among Cleburne's approved six, has a FAILED TO ACT rating for the current Congress, but he has a grade from Numbers for the terms he spent in the House.)
It's laudable that those five -- Boozman, Lee, Moran, Paul, and Rubio -- have co-sponsored good immigration-sanity bills. But it's also merely symbolic: With the Democrats controlling the Senate and with S.723 and S.1196 each lacking any Democratic co-sponsors, neither bill will receive even a hearing in this Congress, never mind a vote.
So while it would be a nice gesture if any of Cleburne's dirty-half-dozen were to sponsor or co-sponsor good immigration-sanity legislation -- with Coats and Portman, it would also be a big surprise -- it wouldn't amount to much more than tilting at windmills in the current Congress. Perhaps these Repub frosh senators simply don't see a practical point in making such a gesture.
Additional point regarding Rubio: As I recall he played a less-than-helpful role for E-Verify legislation in Florida when he was Speaker of the state's House of Representatives. So it's good to see him signing on to a high quality E-Verify bill in the U.S. Senate, even though that bill is going nowhere in this Congress. And in a ~45-second video, apparently recorded last April, Rubio made an impressive pitch -- in English, then Spanish -- that the country should have an official English law, as Florida does. (Note: That's "official English," not "English only." In fact, a majority of states have such laws, but they often aren't well enforced.)