Chad’s Morning Brief: Recall Petition Successful Against Hernandez, Now What? Ted Cruz Opposes Immigration Reform Bill, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 5, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am.
1. Will They Want Change?
The recall petition against Councilman Victor Hernandez was successful which means it's on to the next step in the process. Hernandez has already decided that he will not resign his position which means in November there will be a special election.
So will the people in District 1 want to throw Councilman Hernandez out of office? It's a good question and one I'm not really sure about. Sure, the recall petition was successful but now we are talking about an election.
Councilman Hernandez has been an embarrassment on the City Council and I don't see that ever changing. He claims to be an advocate for District 1, but I truly believe he hurts his District more than anything. However, he is a good politician and he knows how the rally many in District 1. So, will they be willing to toss him out? I wouldn't count on it, but I'd like to be surprised.
2. Cruz and Immigration (link)
Senator Ted Cruz is leading the charge against the Senate's Gang of 8 Immigration Bill.
In a letter sent to his colleagues on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz outlined why he and several other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will oppose a bipartisan attempt at immigration reform.
Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, say that the current proposal, a measure authored by a coalition of senators known as the “Gang of Eight,” fails to secure the border or prevent future inflows of illegal migrants.
The bill, S. 744, is scheduled to go before the full Senate for markups next week.
Cruz says that the current bill would legalize undocumented immigrants without first securing the border; reward criminal aliens, absconders and deportees; and make it easier to commit fraud in the immigration system.
“We must welcome and celebrate legal immigrants, but S. 744 fails to deliver anything more than the same empty promises Washington has been making for 30 years,” the senators wrote. “The last thing this country needs right now is another 1,000-plus page bill that, like Obamacare, was negotiated behind closed doors with special interests.”
The senators write in the letter that although they understand the urgency and need for immigration reform, they believe the current proposal stalls progress on several issues, such as overhauling the current legal immigration system and delaying the implementation of E-Verify, the electronic employment verification system that is currently only required for companies with federal contracts.
Cruz added that several amendments that would have improved the bill, including three he filed and three filed by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, were rejected. Those proposals include measures that would have increased border security personnel and created metrics to measure border security success, and a proposal to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal, state or local welfare benefits.
Cruz and his colleagues voiced their criticisms the same day U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a “Gang of Eight” member, said the bill still needed to be improved.
Interesting to see Senator Cruz take the lead on this issue. It can't make Senator Marco Rubio happy, but I don't think you will see Rubio calling Cruz out in public like McCain did.
3. Guns, Gay Rights, & Immigration (link)
What do guns and gay rights have to do with immigration? In the U.S. Senate, it really doesn't matter.
As the Senate prepares to consider immigration reform next week, two powerful issues dividing lawmakers could be resurrected on the floor: guns and gay rights.
They’re just two pressure points in a minefield that senators will have to navigate to pass the most sweeping immigration overhaul in decades.
But debate over amendments to restrict gun ownership for illegal immigrants and to provide foreign-born gay partners with U.S. citizenship would reopen old wounds that both parties would rather see closed — even if those measures ultimately fail.
They could also cause problems for the bipartisan Gang of Eight that authored the bill, and has stuck together closely to defend the deal from amendments in committee that would have destroyed it.
“I’m concerned that the thing’s going to fall apart if we don’t watch it,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the bill’s authors, said Tuesday. “There’s many friction lines … but people seem to be trying to find a way to yes.”
Here is POLITICO’s list of five issues to watch in the immigration floor debate:
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), one of the Senate’s most ardent gun control advocates since the Newtown school shootings in his home state, is looking at offering a pair of amendments aimed at restricting immigrants’ access to guns.
One amendment would broaden an existing ban on certain immigrants buying guns to those who came into the U.S. on visa waivers. The other would require the attorney general to notify Homeland Security officials if undocumented immigrants or immigrants on temporary visas try to buy firearms, which is illegal.
After lively debate, a recent Senate push failed to impose background checks on commercial gun sales.
“Certainly, a number of my colleagues have encouraged me to move ahead and I’m very seriously considering offering them,” Blumenthal said in a recent interview. “To be very realistic, they were an uphill climb in committee and they’ll be [an] equally uphill on the floor, but I feel so strongly about stopping gun violence that I am hoping to take every opportunity to move the debate forward.”
Blumenthal held back from offering either of his gun-related measures in the Senate Judiciary Committee. During the markup, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a Gang member, told Blumenthal that he backs the “substance” of Blumenthal’s amendments, but withdrawing those measures “helped make certain that we stay focused on immigration reform.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), another Judiciary member, also sponsored a gun-related amendment that ultimately didn’t get a vote during the markup. The measure would allow the attorney general to deny transferring firearms or issuing such licenses to “known or suspected dangerous terrorists.” Whitehouse said he hasn’t decided whether to offer it on the floor.
“I’d like to call it up if I can,” Whitehouse said Tuesday. “Obviously, everybody’s not going to get all their amendments heard, so we’ll just have to see.”
A National Rifle Association spokesman said the organization hasn’t taken a position on those amendments.
The most emotionally charged debate over the immigration bill came in its final moments, when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) put forward — and ultimately withdrew — an amendment to extend immigration rights to gay partners.
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