Many conservatives are placing false hopes in the GOP-controlled House to do the right thing on policy issues. They are being fooled by some superficial concessions leadership has made to conservatives on some of these issues, misplacing their actions for sincere motivations. We are seeing this both with the farm/food stamp bill and the amnesty bill.
Conservatives won a major legislative victory last month when over 60 Republicans banded together to defeat the $940 trillion Food Stamp/Farm Bill. We have long maintained that it is better to extend current policy than to pass a long-term bill that creates more programs and precludes real reform for another 5 years. Leadership has finally agreed to split up the farm and food stamp components into separate bills. They are claiming that conservatives got what they wanted with the new bill. But again, let’s take a look at their motivation.
It’s not that these people have discovered a newfound affinity for phasing out welfare and eliminating corporate welfare. They want both of them. It’s just that our numbers and degree of influence has increased to the point that they are forced to offer that concession and split up the bill.
So who cares what is motivating them, you might ask.
Well, once they are finished with the head fake and pass an agriculture-only bill, they plan to go to conference with the Senate and re-sow the food stamp portion back into the bill. Moreover, even if they sever the two portions of the bill, they should not bring them to the floor without major reforms. The point of separating them out, as conservatives have noted all along, is so we can actually reform them individually without the robust alliance they enjoy when bundled together. What is the point of separating them without reforms? We will just get two separate welfare bills – one individual and one corporate – instead of a combo bill. And ultimately, we will get the grand combo in conference.
It’s all about trust, and there is no trust with them.
And speaking of trust, yesterday’s immigration conference should serve as a stark reminder that we can’t trust House leadership. Despite the conventional wisdom that the bill is DOA is the House, I have been concerned about 3 things – all of which were confirmed in yesterday’s conference. 1) They won’t pass the Senate bill, but they will pass their own pale-pastel version that agrees to the premise of legalization first. They will strip out or delay citizenship, but still agree to some sort of legalization before enforcement. 2) They will take good enforcement bills and go to conference with the Senate. 3) They will go for incremental amnesty like the Dream Act.
Based on what I’ve heard from members in the meeting, all those sentiments were expressed. More broadly, there is a maniacal and incorrigible obsession to pass “something.” That is all you need to know. All the other statements from leadership are not born out of conviction, rather out of fear from the conservative members of the conference. They want this amnesty badly. There is not a single consultant in town who doesn’t want it. It’s a matter of how to get there.
[ To digress a bit, amidst all of the incoherent drivel and platitudes propagated in favor of amnesty, read this piece from Rep. Tom Cotton in the Wall Street Journal. It is the most cogent position I’ve seen on this issue from a member of Congress.]
At some point, more people in the movement will realize that we cannot placate or work with these people. They don’t have our best interests in mind, and they don’t share our convictions. They need to be defeated with a cadre of new conservatives throughout the country.
There is no ‘trust but verify’ with these people. We have already verified that there is nothing to trust.