The Vermonter doesn’t miss much (via TPM):
Senators have been negotiating for days and late into the night trying to gain more Republican support for this important immigration reform legislation. Senators Hoeven and Corker have put together an aggressive package that will add new Republican support to our bipartisan effort and for that progress, I am grateful.
However, it is an understatement to say that this is not the amendment I would have drafted. It is a disappointment to me and to many. The modification to my amendment reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton. I am sure there are federal contracting firms high-fiving at the prospect of all of the spending demanded by Senate Republicans in this amendment. The litany of expensive services, technology, and hardware mandated by this package is combined with an inexplicable waiver of many normal contracting rules. This is a potential recipe for waste, fraud and abuse.
Just in case anyone had forgotten how the “party of fiscal responsibility” handles the cookie jar whenever it gets its grasping, grubby paws on it, Sen. Leahy is here to remind us:
It is astounding to me how far in the past the hard lessons we learned in Iraq appear to be. All of us should remember the disgraceful conduct demonstrated by some private companies in Iraq which was uncovered by the work of the Special Inspector General for Iraq.
Oh, and about that compassionate conservatism thing (or whatever they’re rebranding it as now)? Senator Leahy has been around that block once or twice before, and along with the pork, he smells the horseshit:
It is a cruel irony that when my friends on the other side of the aisle talk about border security, the high cost of implementing their favorite projects are absent from their discussion. Yet, when we are talking about programs that help children who live near the poverty line, then suddenly, fiscal concerns are paramount.
Yup. That’s your modern Republican Party in a nutshell. Millions for the defense of the comfortable. Not one penny that could be seen as honoring the legacy of the man who talked of camels and needles’ eyes.
Leahy’s still voting in favor, because he’s a Democrat, which means he’s actually got an interest in governing, and serving the interests of this country. He concludes his statement thusly:
One of the reasons I decided to continue chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee is because of this once-in-a-generation chance for us to truly reform our broken immigration system. It is a tragic problem that calls out for a comprehensive solution. There are too many families kept apart because of our broken immigration system, and there are too many people living in the shadows who should be allowed to earn their citizenship for us to fail them now. We owe it to them, to people like Jose and Gaby and so many others, to get legislation passed. So while I do not agree with the Republicans’ border demands, I will support this modification of my amendment because it is one of many tough choices necessary to continue making progress toward passage of this crucial bill.
That’s a good man, and a realistic one. Be nice to have a few of those on the far side of the aisle.
Image: Jacob Jordaens, Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, 1647