A procedural challenge to Senate immigration bill

The Hill:

House conservatives are ready to stop the Senate immigration bill in its tracks with a potent procedural weapon should the contentious measure win passage in the upper chamber.

The trump card conservatives may hold is a constitutional rule that revenue-related bills must originate in the House. The Senate immigration measure requires that illegal immigrants pay back taxes before becoming citizens, opening the door to a House protest, dubbed a “blue slip” for the color of its paper.

House Republicans used the same back-taxes mandate for a blue-slip threat that derailed last year’s immigration conference. The new Senate bill still must survive two more weeks of voter scrutiny and contentious amendments, but several conservatives already are lying in wait for the Senate to “make the same mistake twice,” as one House GOP aide put it.

“If we get an opportunity to do it, believe me, we’ll do it,” the aide said. “I think it’s going to be a matter of who will get there first. A number of people in the House are dying to be fingered as the person who killed [the Senate bill].”

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This tells you a lot about the politics of this bill. It is an emotional issue for opponents of both the left and the right, and being caught in the middle looks like a difficult spot with core constituencies.

Jay Nordlinger has some advice for President Bush on dealing with critics of the proposal:

A little advice for President Bush: Watch your rhetoric against opponents of the immigration bill. Be understanding of those who oppose it. Why? Well, in part, because they include some of the people who still love you — and that band is not getting any bigger.

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And here is one more admonition: Not everyone who opposes the immigration bill is blind to the need to have some sort of solution — a solution to our immigration problems. Not everyone has his head in the sand.

Yes, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But “enforcement first” — and enforcement for real — is pretty good too.

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The government has lost credibility on enforcement because of the bipartisan failure to enforce the current law. It may be sometime before that credibility can be reestablished.

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