According to our friend Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and his leadership team, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Whip Steve Scalise, refused to lobby for the Trump-supported Goodlatte immigration bill, which would have built a border wall, enacted E-Verify procedures, and offered DREAMERS a path to citizenship. It failed to pass the House after nearly 20 Ryan loyalists voted against it.
Now, many of the 20 Republicans who voted “NO” on Goodlatte are gone, defeated or retired in the 2018 midterm election, and Rep. Goodlatte has been clear on why his bill did not pass, when Republicans had the majority in the House. Our friend Neil Munro reports Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the retiring Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, says the GOP leadership let the House immigration reform die in June by allowing a critical bloc of GOP legislators to split their votes between two rival reform bills.
“The strategy of having two options really let people have an off-ramp — they could vote for the more conservative bill and against the other, or vote for the second bill and not the first,” Goodlatte said, adding according to Munro’s reporting:
That is just not a good strategy and I complained about it at the time. I said ‘You’ve got to narrow this down to one bill and then work really hard to get the members to vote for that one bill.’
Mr. Goodlatte confirmed that House Speaker Paul Ryan made the decision to create the rival bill that blocked Goodlatte’s bill.
On November 30, Ryan told an interviewer that he preferred the second bill, which he credited to Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
The Curbelo bill was drafted when Ryan exploited a pro-amnesty push by Curbelo and other business-first GOP legislators to push an amnesty for younger “DACA” illegals. Ryan blocked the amnesty push by crafting a pro-business “Goodlatte II” bill to sink Goodlatte’s bill.
Ryan said November 30:
On immigration, I really liked—I call it “the Curbelo bill,” it was Goodlatte II — the immigration compromise bill that I put on the floor in July, which satisfied the president’s four pillars.
However, the Ryan/Curbelo bill provided the GOP’s business donors with a much higher migrant inflow of cheap workers and extra consumers, compared to the Goodlatte bill.
“Our goal is to not cut legal immigration,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo told RollCall on June 8. The number of illegals who get green cards from the amnesty should be “as high a number as possible,” he said. On June 13, Curbelo repeated his demand, telling The Hill that some visas may be shifted towards employment visas, but our goal is to not cut legal immigration.
Ryan’s support for the Curbelo bill allowed 41 GOP legislators to vote no on the Goodlatte bill when it came up for a June vote.
On June 14, the House blocked Goodlatte’s H.R. 4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act,” with a vote tally of 193 to 231. No Democrats voted for the reform.
“If it had been the only bill offered, it might have passed,” Goodlatte said. “We were 20, 21 votes short,” said Goodlatte. The bill would have passed “if we had gotten half of the GOP ‘no’ voters to join with us, we would have gotten there,” he said.
The Ryan/Curbelo bill was defeated on June 27 when 112 GOP legislators voted against it. Only 121 GOP legislators voted for Ryan’s bill.
However, Ryan’s two-vote strategy successfully blocked the Trump and conservative-backed Goodlatte bill.
As we see it, the 2018 midterm election would not have even been close if Paul Ryan and the House Republican leadership had embraced and passed Donald Trump’s conservative immigration agenda.
Now, Rep. Curbello is gone, defeated even as Republicans won hard-fought races for Senator and Governor, and the border remains as open as ever, with over 90,000 illegal aliens detained just since the so-called caravan assembled in October.
Between now and the end of the year we expect to read many articles in the establishment media about Paul Ryan and tax cuts as his “legacy” as Speaker, but we doubt anyone in the establishment media will write about Ryan’s real legacy – destroying American sovereignty by killing the best chance to pass a strong immigration reform bill and build the wall on our southern border.
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Photo “Paul Ryan” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.