By Steve Sailer on May 19, 2007 at 1:00am
Under the leadership of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), various Senators and Bush Administration officials pulled an all-nighter behind closed doors on Wednesday. By noon Thursday, the bleary-eyed politicos had concocted an illegal alien amnesty (a.k.a., "comprehensive immigration reform") bill.
I presume politicians don't have Smoke-Filled Rooms anymore. So you could call this the Red Bull-Filled Room approach to deciding the fate of America.
No committee hearings are to be held on what may well be the most important legislation of the decade. As Senator Chuck Grassley [R-IA] correctly pointed out:
"It's disappointing and even ironic how the deal announced today skirts the democratic processes of Congress. It was cut by a group of senators operating outside the committees of jurisdiction and without public hearings on key components."
As of early Saturday morning, May 19, the public has not even been shown the text of the bill. The ultimately failed amnesty legislation the Senate passed last year was 118,277 words long. This may well be more complicated. A photo of the first draft shows it to be almost twice as thick as a Bible.
So reading the new bill carefully will likely take at least 10 uninterrupted hours, and quite possibly twice that, a span of time that few Senators have readily available. To truly understand how the legislation would work and what its long term implications are would take weeks of questioning and debate.
Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wants to have the entire bill passed by Memorial Day, a week from now.
Even more appallingly, Reid wants to hold the crucial "cloture" vote to shut off the possibility of a filibuster, the best chance to derail it, on Monday, May 21! [Two days later]
It is utterly impossible for the United States Senate to exercise the due diligence commensurate with the importance of major immigration legislation without extensive hearings.
The pro-amnesty Senate hearings spearheaded by McCain in early 2006 aroused tremendous opposition among the public. Although an amnesty bill passed the Senate in May, House Republican leaders wisely refused to be lured into a conference committee to reconcile their enforcement-only bill with the Senate's diametrically opposed bill. Instead, they held additional hearings on immigration last summer around the country. Foolishly, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) tried to hold his own hearings in favor of the Senate bill, but the result of the dueling hearings was the collapse of any chance for amnesty last year.
From a good government standpoint, what we are witnessing is perhaps the most irresponsible and shameless attempt to hustle a pig in a poke past the public in recent memory. Of course, that's the whole point of the exercise—to not let us simple citizens in on the process of deciding who our fellow citizens will be.
It's only a modest exaggeration to call this an attempted coup against the American people.
Of course, the Main Stream Media finds this elite putsch admirable. U.S. News' Political Bulletin commented on Friday: "Media Revels in Bipartisanship Bliss The bipartisan process that led to the Senate deal is being celebrated in media reports." Today's press probably would have spun the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact as a triumph of bipartisan bridge-building. Who cares if the American people have to play the role of the betrayed Poles?
Why this obscene haste?
Greg Sargent of the WaPo writes:
Rubio is joining with other Senators who are urging a go-slow approach, such as Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, who may be urging a slowdown so the armies of the right have time to mobilize and strike fear into any reform-minded Republican officials, killing reform.
Indeed, one group opposed to reform has explicitly called on Senators to slow the process down, apparently for the purposes of derailing it. And we’ve seen this before: back in 2007, opponents of reform similarly tried to slow the process, with Senator John Cornyn urging colleagues to “slow down and read this bill” because Americans had not yet digested the plan. Now, six years later, we’re again hearing the calls to “slow down.” But the American people have made their verdict clear: They want a path to citizenship.
Let's reiterate the Establishment Conventional Wisdom: Only bad people want to "slow down and read this bill" (which, by the way, hasn't yet fully gone through the formality of coming into existence, much less released to the public). Why do you want to read a landmark bill? What are you, some kind of racist? Reading is racist!