Rick Goddard, the Republican Eighth Congressional District challenger from Georgia and Jim Marshall, the Democratic incumbent, articulated essentially the same views on illegal immigration during the recent election. One would not have known this from the attack ads that Congressman Marshall ran against Goddard, which claimed that Goddard was "soft" on illegals. It is difficult to understand how folks in the Eighth District could have bought into this story recognizing that Republicans have historically been stronger than Democrats on this issue…but it worked!
Within the first 30 days of the new Congress, however, Jim Marshall showed his true colors by voting along with his Democratic colleagues and passing two bills that create new rights and benefits for illegal aliens. On February 4th, President Obama signed into law an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Thanks to Jim’s "yes" vote on this bill, our country has moved ever closer to a nationalized healthcare system. The expended SCHIP program not only provides healthcare coverage eligibility (and governmental dependency) to 11 million children, whose parents make up to $80,000 per year, but it has extended these benefits to illegal aliens as well. This "back door" federal entitlement to illegals was made possible through a mechanism known as "express lane eligibility" which weakened the documentation of citizenship status provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act.
While the impact of SCHIP’s expansion may have escaped the radar screen of most casual observers, nearly all of us were keenly aware of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and its $789 billion price tag. President Obama signed this bill into law on February 17th and if you were like most everyone else, you did not have time within the 24 hours that President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi allotted us to read all 1,100 pages before it became law. I’m sure Jim Marshall didn’t either, but that didn’t stop him from voting for it.
Incredibly, the economic stimulus package does not require E-Verify employment verification for contracts created with stimulus funding. E-Verify is a system that was jointly developed by Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration that requires federal contract employers to confirm that the employees they hire are American citizens. Congress went out of its way to eliminate these provisions for contracts created with stimulus funding claiming that the system has too many database errors. If this were true (and it is not), why is it not being eliminated all together? A more plausible explanation might be to provide employers the ability to hire illegal aliens without holding the hiring employer accountable. During a time when we are literally spending thousands of taxpayer dollars for each job created, is it too much to ask Jim Marshall to insure that these jobs go only to American citizens? Isn’t this what President Obama directed Mayor Reichert and other city mayors to do on February 21st when he said, "You’re on the front lines of the crisis. What I will need from all of you is unprecedented responsibility and accountability?"
What other surprises lay ahead for us from Jim Marshall, our "conservative Democrat" from the Eighth Congressional District? On Thursday, February 26th, President Obama released his $3.55 trillion budget to Congress. According to Senator Richard Burr, "Obama’s budget commits the government to a billion dollars a day in interest on the debt over the next decade." Aside from this unfathomable debt, I fear that this will transform the county I love and served for thirty-one years into a socialistic society much like Europe. I will be following Mr. Marshall’s vote on this very carefully and I hope you will too.