Conservative Review - Welcome to the New GOP Majority

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Welcome to the New GOP Majority

By: Daniel Horowitz | April 22nd, 2015

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Yesterday, I cited a Congressional Quarterly analysis showing that Senate Republicans have voted with Obama more than 50% since the beginning of the new Congress – more than they did while serving in the minority.  But there’s more to the story.  It’s not just the fact that Republicans are voting with Obama, it’s that they have deliberately ceded structural control of the chamber to Democrats.

Now that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is in control of the floor process, nothing has changed. They are pursuing Obama’s agenda… while blocking many Republican amendments.

Typically, the majority party will manipulate the floor process to block initiatives from the minority party and vote on wedge issues favorable to their side – ones that embarrass those in the minority.  As such, even if the majority party lacks the votes to overcome a filibuster and pass the legislation, they can use the amendment process on the bill to shame the minority and draw sharp contrasts in the hopes of winning the next election.  Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) was the ultimate master at pursuing Obama’s agenda while blocking all Republican amendments.

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RELATED: Making History: Senate GOP Vote with Obama at Record Pace

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Now that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is in control of the floor process, nothing has changed.  They are pursuing Obama’s agenda… while blocking many Republican amendments!

McConnell and right-hand man at the negotiation table, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), made it clear from day one that they would not block the nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General as a means of leveraging against Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty.  Not only does Lynch support Obama’s illegal amnesty, she expressed her belief that all residents of the world have the right to come here and work, irrespective of how they arrived.  She is going to be our chief law enforcement officer. 

Ironically, the only thing that prompted Republicans to block Lynch from a floor vote was Democrat intransigence against a pet bill of Sen. John Cornyn on human trafficking.  The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178), among other things, strengthens law enforcement tools for prosecuting human trafficking violations and requires those convicted of trafficking to pay a $5,000 penalty in addition to criminal charges.  The funds would be used to set up programs supporting victims of sex offenses and human trafficking.  Yet, Democrats held it up for over a month because it didn’t sufficiently fund abortion. 

Now that the much-vaunted bipartisan bargain on the trafficking bill was struck, Republicans have set up a floor vote on Lynch.  But the payment of Democrat ransom runs much deeper than just the vote to confirm Lynch. 

Sen. Sessions (R-AL) proposed an amendment to fix a major loophole in the bill.  Anyone bestowed with common sense understands that illegal immigration and our porous border is a big driver of human trafficking.  Page 48 of this bill conveniently exempted those who traffic family members from paying the $5,000 penalty to the victims fund.  It’s well known that many illegal aliens traffic their own family members.  Yet, the bill passed without a vote on the Sessions amendment, which would have eliminated this politically-motivated loophole. 

Ask yourselves this question: which amendments would more effectively fight human trafficking – the Sessions and Vitter amendments targeting the actual culprits or the Leahy social issue amendment?

Several weeks ago, we reported that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed an amendment to this bill fixing the loopholes of birthright citizenship and birth tourism.  Not only is this one of the most important magnets for illegal immigration, it is a key factor in encouraging young pregnant women to come here illegally. They are naturally exploited by human traffickers.  As with the Sessions amendment, this would have been quite germane to the underlying subject matter in the bill.  Yet, it did not receive a vote. 

So what did receive a vote? 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) got a vote on his sexual identity amendment, which would grant the federal government license “to discriminate against faith-based organizations that currently form the backbone of the nation’s social services” if they don’t share the same religious beliefs on sexual identity as the far left.  10 Republicans, including presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) voted for the amendment, but it failed to garner 60 votes.

Let’s put aside the fact that Republicans control the Senate and should always favor their own amendments.  Ask yourselves this question: which amendments would more effectively fight human trafficking – the Sessions and Vitter amendments targeting the actual culprits or the Leahy social issue amendment?

But GOP leadership would rather not answer that question.  Now Republicans can move on to more important matters like confirming Loretta Lynch.

The perverse cycle of protecting Democrats and blocking conservatives will continue.  Next week, they will bring the Corker-Cardin Democrat loincloth bill on Iran to the floor. This entire bill is designed to protect Democrats from their commitment to bring back sanctions on Iran.  Yet, leadership will do everything in their power to prevent conservatives from strengthening this bill.

Even George Orwell would be impressed by the faux opposition McConnell and Co. are orchestrating against Obama.       

Daniel Horowitz is the Senior Editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.

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