With polls falling, Senate Majority Leader rushes amnesty bill

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

Byron York reports:

“I’m just telling everybody that we’re going to either file cloture on this on Friday or Saturday or Sunday or Monday,” Reid said as the Senate opened its morning session. Filing for cloture means that a final vote would be held three days later. So if Reid filed for cloture on Monday, June 24, a final vote on the bill would be held on Thursday, June 27. The Senate’s July Fourth break starts the week after.

Reid warned his fellow lawmakers that if they want to consider amendments to the Gang of Eight bill, they need to be prepared to work virtually nonstop between now and then. “This may not be one of our normal weekends,” Reid said. “We’ve got to move forward on this legislation.”

Originally, the goal by Senator Reid was to get immigration “reform” through the Senate by July 4. York points out that while polls are not explicitly why the Senator is pushing up the timetable so much, that’s the logical conclusion:

There is no obvious, pressing reason for Reid’s schedule. But as he spoke, there were signs that popular support for immigration reform is slipping. After months of polls showing widespread support for some elements of reform, a new CNN survey showed a bare majority, 51 percent to 45 percent, supports the Gang of Eight bill. Perhaps more ominously, the poll found strong support for prioritizing border security above a path to citizenship for currently-illegal immigrants. Independents favor security before a path by a two-to-one margin, and Republicans support it by a three-to-one margin. Democrats favored a path to citizenship over security, but by the barest of margins, 50 percent to 49 percent. Overall, CNN found that 62 percent of the public favors prioritizing security before a path to citizenship, while 36 percent favored a path over security.

This shouldn’t be any surprise, of course. Senator Reid knows what his amnesty bill contains won’t win support from the American people, so he’s trying to jam it through to put pressure on the House to pass its own immigration “reform” bill. It’s Obamacare all over again, except this time Establishment Republicans are helping him.

Or are they? Suddenly, things aren’t so certain. The Congressional Budget Office notes the bill will only stop about 25% of illegal immigration. Furthermore, the report only examines budget impacts 20 years from now – long before most would-be legalized immigrants receive Social Security and Medicare. The burden on Social Security alone would be enormous in the long-run. According to James Agresti, President of Just Facts:

According to Pew Research, the median age of an illegal immigrant in 2011 was 36 years old, a full decade younger than the median age of legal immigrants and native adults. While Social Security would benefit from having more younger people working legally, and thus paying more taxes, illegal immigrants tend to be low-income workers who live long lives. Thus, in the long run, they will take more from Social Security than they add, and therefore the major cost of illegal immigration won’t be seen until current illegal immigrants reach retirement age – nearly three decades from now. The Congressional Budget Office report is thus not examining the total financial impact of the Senate’s immigration bill on the federal government’s finances.

Pressure from the American people is pushing Senator Reid to act quickly – far too quickly on a terrible bill. Fortunately, pressure from the American people may also force the GOP to finally act for the benefit of their constituents, not the political prospects of Beltway advisors.