This week in Congress: The sellout on judges and refugees

· January 19, 2016  
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President Barack Obama waves goodbye after giving his final State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Vice President Joe Biden applauds, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. is at right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

With the House on vacation this week, Mitch McConnell’s Senate Republicans will have the capitulation show all to themselves in Washington. As more news about the degree of betrayal on the Iran deal and the magnitude of the current border surge becomes available to the public, watch for Republicans to offer a lot of bluster but fail to craft a legislative agenda that truly speaks to the severity of the times.

Here is a quick look at what is on the agenda this week:

Liberal Judges 

After another weekend of reports that Obama is committing acts of treason with Iran; namely, giving them $1.7 billion—Republicans are responding to him by … nominating a liberal judge! As we reported last week, the first vote on Tuesday will be to confirm Wilhelmina Marie Wright to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Wright is a hard-core leftist who evidently believes property rights are racist. Last week, almost every GOP senator voted to confirm a liberal public defender to a position on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Watch for this to become a growing pattern over the next few months as Obama is emboldened to nominate more judges.

Refugees 

In December, the House pulled a bait-and-switch with funding for Obama’s Islamic refugee program. They fully funded the program to the tune of $1.67 billion in the omnibus bill, but passed a separate bill to block refugees. Except, even the standalone bill was an artifice. It merely requires the Obama administration to guard its own hen house and certify that any refugee accepted from Syria and Iraq is not a terrorist. And other problematic countries, such as Somalia, are not addressed at all. At the time, Paul Ryan blocked efforts by conservatives to vote on an amendment placing a temporary moratorium on the entire program.

This week, it’s the Senate’s turn to debate the phony refugee bill. This entire debate is an insult to the American people. This is not about “vetting;” it’s about defending our civilization from Sharia law, as witnessed by the events transpiring in Europe. As we saw during the last debate, establishment Republicans like Marco Rubio want to minimize the problem of Islamic supremacism to ISIS, as if to say as long as we can ensure the immigrants are not known professional ISIS operatives we can bring them in.

Moreover, Obama is abusing the program as it relates to Central American migrants. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the administration would expand the program to bring in thousands more Central Americans. The Department of Justice’s Immigration Judge Benchbook section 101(a)(42) clearly states that the bedrock basis for refugee status is a credible fear of persecution based on race, religion, or nationality. While all of these people are living in dismal conditions compared to our standard of living, this is true of most of the third world. Latin America is actually one of the most homogenous parts of the world and there is no religious or ethnic persecution. They are not eligible for refugee or asylum status.

Additionally, Obama is clearly telegraphing the message to Central America that our border is wide open. It’s no surprise that the numbers of Central American migrants coming over the border are beginning to surpass the surge of 2014. The number of unaccompanied alien children crossing the border for the first three months of FY 2016 is up 117% relative to the same period last year. This must be shut down immediately.

What To Watch For:

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate will vote on cloture to proceed with the House refugee bill, H.R. 4038. Democrats might not filibuster the motion to proceed with debate, thereby allowing a series of votes on amendments. Democrats will attempt to vote on amendments that, in their mind, will embarrass Republicans. They will attempt to resurrect the Leahy amendment, which expresses the sense of the Senate that nobody should be excluded from this country’s immigration system on account of religion. Senator Leahy already forced a vote on this amendment in the Judiciary Committee last month and only four Republicans had the sense to vote against it. Codifying such language into our laws would essentially open the door to endless lawsuits from any of the 7.2 billion people in the world who want to immigrate here.

At the same time, watch for conservatives like Sen. Jeff Sessions to offer real amendments dealing with the broader immigration issue. It will be interesting to see if McConnell is, once again, more favorable to Democrat amendments than offered by his Republican colleagues.

School Lunch Program

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee is planning to mark up a bill on Wednesday that would reauthorize a host of child nutrition programs and the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program through fiscal year 2020. This bill is being lauded as a bipartisan breakthrough, but in reality it is likely to codify the nanny-state Michele Obama-style federal nutrition guidelines into law. Moreover, the federal government should not be involved in such a multitude of programs dealing with child nutrition. These programs should be devolved to the states. Furthermore, even if Republicans do not think they can make significant reforms with Obama in the White House, it makes no sense to reauthorize the program for more than two years, especially given that there is no effort being made to combine duplicative programs.


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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.