Chad’s Morning Brief: Will Immigration Be Next in 2014?, The Republican Civil War, and More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of December 12, 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. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
If and right now it’s a big if, the budget deal goes through and another government shutdown is avoided, will immigration be next for lawmakers? According to Breitbart, those who favor amnesty might be the biggest fans of this budget agreement.
Last week, The Hillreported that amnesty advocates and big-business and high-tech lobbyists who want comprehensive immigration reform wanted nothing more than a budget deal that would prevent another government shutdown. Such a budget deal would pave the way for legislation that the Congressional Budget Office predicts will lower the wages of working-class Americans.
“Few in Washington want to see House and Senate negotiators strike a budget deal more than advocates for immigration reform,” The Hill wrote. “An agreement would clear the legislative calendar in the New Year, and combined with an expected push from President Obama in his State of the Union address, immigration reform could have the moment its advocates have been waiting for.”
Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, has been a strong Republican advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has said his “Republican friends” have told him they want comprehensive immigration reform in everything but name only, said Ryan was his “ally” in his quest for amnesty. Ryan also was one of the first lawmakers to suggest that House Republicans could pass immigration reform through piecemeal bills.
As Breitbart News reported, when the House Republican leadership said they would not go to conference on the exact Senate bill, Ryan did not even join them in making such a pronouncement. House Republicans have always left the door open to go to conference on various piecemeal bills, though.
President Barack Obama has indicated he would be okay with comprehensive immigration reform being broken up into pieces so long as all of the pieces — including the pathway to citizenship provision — are passed.
The White House and Democrats would love for 2014 to be about two things. Immigration Reform and the minimum wage. Why? Because those are two issues that speak to their base and more importantly, it knocks Obamacare off the front page. Republicans have to be careful that they don’t fall into the trap.
Just about everyone knows that the Republican party is split. Is it an all out war between the two sides? That is what Politico thinks.
The simmering feud between House Republicans and movement conservatives is finally an all-out war.
The tension exploded on Wednesday morning when Speaker John Boehner and outside conservative groups traded sharp barbs over the budget deal Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) crafted with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). It only escalated later in the day when the leader of the right-wing Republican Study Committee forced out its long-time executive director for leaking private conversations about strategy to those organizations.
The frenzied activity — just days before the House is scheduled to recess until 2014 — represents the ultimate culmination of a power struggle between institutional Republicans in Congress and outside groups, who are funded by well-heeled conservative donors and can pay for primary challenges.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Boehner (R-Ohio) accused outside conservative groups of “using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals.”
Republican leaders have long accused those outside groups — Heritage Action, Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, to name a few — of existing solely to oppose them. Many of these organizations accuse Boehner, his leadership team and some Republican members of Congress of being a bunch of squishes willing to abandon their conservative principles in favor of compromises.
More than 50 members of conservative groups signed on to a statement Wednesday evening responding to both Boehner’s remarks and Teller’s dismissal.
“It is clear that the conservative movement has come under attack on Capitol Hill today,” the statement reads.
All of that was private, relegated to fundraisers and K Street lunchroom chatter, until now.
The two sides are fighting over strategy, politics and policy — and, in a way, this skirmish neatly encapsulates the existential battle for the soul of the Republican Party. They are showing the tug between purity versus pragmatism, and loyalty versus the pedal-to-the-metal tactics to drag the a party to the right.
Boehner’s line of attack against outside groups follows a similar tack by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who has focused his outrage on the Senate Conservatives Fund. He even blessed the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s blacklisting of consulting firms that do business with the group.
“John Boehner has apparently decided to join Mitch McConnell in the war on conservatives,” Senate Conservatives Fund executive Director Matt Hoskins said. “McConnell called us fringe traitors who should be locked in a bar and punched in the nose, and now Boehner is lashing out at us too. Conservatives everywhere need to understand that the party’s leadership has declared war on them. If they don’t fight back, they will always regret it. We’re going to hang together or hang separately.”
Then Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) upped the ante.
The chairman of the RSC, the bastion of the right-wing strategy on Capitol Hill, fired its long-time executive director Paul Teller for leaking member-level conversations to the outside groups, according to a senior Republican aide.
“Paul was divulging private, member level conversations and actively working against strategies developed by RSC members,” said the senior GOP aide familiar with the group. “Trust between senior staff and RSC members is paramount. No staffer is above a member.”
Scalise and Teller didn’t immediately comment.
If there was any staffer on Capitol Hill that was nearly as powerful as a member of Congress, it was Teller. He has been involved in conservative strategy for more than a decade, helping drag legislative debates to the right. But he often chafed on Republican leadership, who saw him as causing intra-party drama.
Conservatives reacted with outrage at what they perceived as a one-two punch to try and squelch the tea party.
“The fact they are making an example of Paul is clearly a message to staffers and other members that they will take a pound of flesh if they go against them on this sellout budget deal,” said one Senate Republican aide with close ties to the tea party. “It’s disgraceful. This is clearly Paul Ryan and John Boehner cracking down on dissent in the House. It shows the hostility the establishment has to tea party-minded staffers.”
There’s no evidence, however, that Boehner and Ryan were at all involved in Teller’s ouster.
Friction between GOP lawmakers and the outside groups has been brewing for months. For example, Heritage Action urged Republican leadership to strip food stamps from the farm bill. When Republican leadership did, Heritage Action still urged lawmakers to vote against the bill. The group irked the RSC so much that they banned Heritage Action aides from attending their weekly meeting.
After the government shutdown, top Republicans, frustrated with the tea party hijacking their agenda, urged business groups to get more active in primaries.
But the groups who have drawn the most ire aren’t changing their strategy.
I have no problem with debate and disagreement within a party and between candidates. The problem Republicans have is that emotions are high and each division is trying to take control. That could have an impact going into 2014 and 2016. Conservatives, moderates, Republicans, and the Tea Party must start looking at the bigger picture and let elections play out. They must also allow for disagreement and debate on issues. Constantly going into attack mode will not help the GOP going forward.
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