So much for the open amendment process.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) initially promised he would change the direction of the House by allowing members to offer important amendments to pending legislation. Last night, the Rules Committee, which serves as an arm of the Speaker’s office, rejected an amendment by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and other conservatives that would have placed a six-month moratorium on the entire refugee resettlement program.
This means that H.R. 4038 will be voted on under a closed process with no way to amend the bill. Crafted at the last minute, behind closed doors, this bill is not only bad policy but it completely accepts the premise of the left that to the extent there is any problem with the refugee program it’s only a threat of ISIS infiltration and only with the Syrian refugees. To that end, it merely calls on Obama to guard his own hen house and better vet them. Never mind that not a single perpetrator of the Paris attacks was on any terrorism watch list. In short, this bill does nothing to halt the program.
Don’t be fooled by Obama’s threat to veto the bill. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a number of Democrats fundamentally support this bill. However, unlike Republicans, Democrats negotiate from a position of strength. When Republicans offer them 97% of what they want, Democrats immediately reject it with the confidence they will soon get an even better deal. Republicans have already ceded the moral clarity on this issue by eschewing public cries to categorically shutdown this dangerous program.
It’s evident that Ryan has made “process reforms” a shiny object, an ends to itself. The entire purpose of instituting process reforms is to change the policy focus of the House and draw a bold contrast on the issues of our time that voters actually care about. Ryan had no problem allowing dozens of amendments on the most banal, deep-in-the-weeds issues pertaining to highway policy, even though the underlying $85 billion bailout was preserved in the bill. Yet, when it comes to an issue that actually matters – the safety and future of our civilization and security – Ryan is making sure to protect his members from a real vote on shutting down the odious program that has transformed America without the consent of the people.
Paul Ryan is no different than John Boehner. Boehner also supported an open amendment process…except for the urgent bills; in other words, all the bills that actually mattered. And like Boehner he is refusing to seize the moral high-ground and commit to defunding this immoral fleecing of the American people.
Republicans could have 99% of the American people demand they follow a certain course of action, but if that would require fighting the Democrats and siding against the media, they will always demur.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.