Update: After publication of this commentary, the Senate agreed to a Unanimous Consent request that addressed concerns laid out below. Senate rules and precedents allow for rules and precedents to be set aside if all 100 senators agree, hence, unanimous consent. The agreed to consent request allowed for a vote on the “Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act” while resuming consideration of the House passed DHS appropriations bill which would defund the president’s executive amnesty. Moving forward, Senate Republicans should avoid distractions from the issue at hand – the constitutional crisis and Obama’s amnesty – until Democrats drop their filibuster on the bill. McConnell should keep the Senate in session during next week’s recess as leverage against Senate Democrats.
After Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) won the Republican primary in June 2012, he declared that his last term would be his most productive and that he was “ready to bite the bullet.” While some of his constituents might have taken that to mean he would fight for conservatives with renewed vigor, Hatch had a different set of ideas. What Hatch really meant by biting the bullet in his final term was that he would rubber stamp Obama’s illegal and dangerous amnesty agenda while undermining conservatives who fight it – sort of like Obama telling Vladimir Putin he would have “more flexibility” in his final term.
Hatch’s scam, which is designed to use the sensitivity of child pornography victims as a foil for the defund effort, is clearly backed by Republican leadership.
Much like his conservative colleagues in the Senate, Hatch is aware of the fact that Republicans have two leverage points against an imperial presidency: blocking nominees and wielding the power of the purse. He immediately foiled the effort to block Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s nomination by announcing his support for her in committee and on the Senate floor, all but assuring her confirmation. Now he is setting out to destroy the effort to block funding for amnesty.
According to Senate sources, Hatch is now using the sleazy tactic of baiting conservative members into abandoning the House defund bill by pressuring them to instead move onto an unrelated bill that is difficult to oppose, legislation protecting victims of child pornography [S. 295, Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015].
Hatch knows that as long as conservatives block a unanimous consent agreement to abandon the House immigration bill, his self-assured path to defeat is blocked. To that end, since the birth of this new plan to pivot from the real issue at hand, Hatch has been running to K Street, telling lobbyists to pressure these senators to drop their hold on the legislation so that they can proceed with it and jettison the immigration-funding bill.
Hatch’s scam, which is designed to use the sensitivity of child pornography victims as a foil for the defund effort, is clearly backed by Republican leadership. This bill was marked up in committee last Thursday without any prior hearings. Additionally, it was passed out of the Judiciary Committee without sufficient time for members to thoroughly delve into the bill. It was then immediately hotlined on the Senate calendar for floor consideration.
To be clear, holding the bill does not kill the bill but only allows it to come up later, so why the sudden rush to pass this bill? After all, there is plenty of time in the year to take up this bill. There is very little time, on the other hand, to stop Obama’s amnesty.
That’s why Hatch is calling on his K Street cronies to twist the arms of conservative senators who see through the scam and refuse to be strong-armed into pivoting away from their promise to defund the illegal amnesty.
Simple. What better way to lure senators away from fighting Obama’s amnesty than by focusing on a bill with such a mellifluous-sounding title as the “Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act”? Conservatives aren’t credulous enough to fall into the trap and are placing a hold on the bill until the constitutional crisis is resolved. That’s why Hatch is calling on his K Street cronies to twist the arms of conservative senators who see through the scam and refuse to be strong-armed into pivoting away from their promise to defund illegal amnesty. It’s not that the lobbyists are all consumed by the child porn bill; it’s just that they know this is an effective means of torpedoing the defund effort.
It’s one thing to stab Republican colleagues in the back by handing them over to K Street, but to do it only to save leadership from having to actually fight Obama’s amnesty as they promised the American people in November is beyond pathetic.
In January 2009, shortly before voting to confirm Eric Holder, Hatch admitted, “I like Barack Obama and want to help him if I can.” It’s clear that undermining conservatives and helping Obama will remain his passion for the next two years. It’s just a shame he wasn’t man enough to campaign on that slogan in 2012.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.