Amnesty Looms Large in the Reconciliation Bill

uTN Social - Free Speech Social Media

United States Capitol Building ( rarrarorro/Getty Images)

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held a markup on the immigration provisions of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill. One of those provisions is an amnesty estimated to cover 8 million out of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. Although touted as a benefit for so-called “Dreamers” who arrived at the age of 18 or younger, there are only about 2 million of them in the country. The bill’s larger qualifying category for amnesty will probably be “essential” workers — with “essential” defined very broadly, of course. (The bill also contains an expansion of legal immigration.)

Advertisement

Advertisement

As most readers know, Senate bills normally require 60 votes to break a filibuster, but a special process called budget reconciliation allows some legislation to pass with a bare majority. In order to be included in the reconciliation bill, the amnesty faces at least two procedural hurdles. First, reconciliation is supposed to be reserved for budgetary matters — that is, taxing and spending. To prevent senators from smuggling in any imaginable policy change under the guise of the budget, Senate rules require more than a “merely incidental” budgetary impact to qualify for reconciliation.

It is frankly ridiculous to assert that amnesty passes this test. In fact, amnesty is exactly the kind of major policy change that the budgetary rule is designed to exclude. Giving green cards to 8 million people has legal, social, and economic effects that go far beyond the increased spending required to pay recipients government benefits. If the main purpose is really just to make illegal immigrants eligible for programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, then presumably the bill should do only that, without granting a path to citizenship. If the Senate parliamentarian allows this amnesty to pass as a budgetary matter, the filibuster will be severely wounded — perhaps fatally.

Advertisement

The second procedural hurdle is the rule that reconciliation bills cannot increase the deficit beyond 10 years. The problem here for the amnesty provision is that so much of its costs are back-loaded into entitlements. As I wrote for NRO back in April, illegal immigrants are actually a fiscal boon to Social Security and Medicare — as long as they remain illegal. The reason is that roughly half pay taxes into those programs, but most cannot collect benefits. Granting eligibility for entitlements via amnesty would cancel this fiscal benefit and impose a steep cost in its place. My best estimate is that legalizing 8 million illegal immigrants would cost Social Security and Medicare Part A $1 trillion in net present value.

I confess that at this point my understanding of the reconciliation process becomes fuzzy. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Social Security spending is considered “off-budget” and therefore not part of the calculation that determines whether a reconciliation bill increases the long-term deficit. Nevertheless, even just the Medicare portion of the amnesty’s entitlement costs will be substantial. It is imperative that the Congressional Budget Office publish a cost estimate that incorporates the full effect on entitlements, not just the impact within the next 10 years. Without a long-term score, major costs associated with amnesty could be hidden, and the whole reconciliation process might proceed illegitimately.

Recommended


Justice Kavanaugh Refuses to Buckle

He had to have known that voting as he did in the Texas case would bring him bad press.


Australians Are Suffering from Excessive COVID Lockdowns

The political class that has dreamed up and enforced these restrictions has been largely insulated from the consequences.


The Real Biden Presidency Emerges

The heroic period of his administration was always a mirage.


The Biden Illusion Crumbles to Dust

President Joe Biden addressed the nation and confirmed all of the worst suspicions of his critics.


Why Isn’t the Attack on Larry Elder the Biggest Story in America?

A white woman in a gorilla mask threw an egg at a black man seeking to become the first non-white governor of our largest state, and the media shrug.


Democrats Finally Get Comfortable Saying Obama Is a Jerk

Democrats finally feel safe saying out loud that Barack Obama can be a narcissistic, self-absorbed, tone-deaf jerk.

The Latest


New York Times Quietly Retracts Claim That Hunter Biden Laptop Story Is ‘Unsubstantiated’

Earlier this year, CNN confirmed that authorities believe the laptop belonged to Hunter Biden.


Revenue and Revenge

House Democrats’ $2.1 trillion tax-hike proposal will punish the economy without raising enough to pay for President Biden’s agenda.


The Rich Already Pay Too Much in Taxes

Increasing numbers of Americans are accepting Marxist conceptions of American life, in which the successful are parasites and everyone else is a victim of their greed.


Missouri Superintendent Cancels Advanced Middle School Courses over ‘Equity Issues’

Over the last year, teachers and administrators nationwide have weaponized K-12 education by injecting progressive politics into classrooms.


Trump Impeachment Witness Calls on Milley to Resign over Secret China Call

“If this is true GEN Milley must resign,” Alexander Vindman wrote on Twitter.


Norm Macdonald, Iconic Comedian and Saturday Night Live Alum, Dead at 61

Macdonald passed away after a private nine-year battle with cancer.

Top Stories

Get our conservative analysis delivered right to you. No charge.

Read More Feedzy

The Foxhole App - Trusted News Podcasts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *