Washington, DC — Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, released the following statement on the White House’s latest attempt to distract from its failure to convince Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform.
“Today, Scott McClellan demonstrated once again that the Bush White House is simply not credible. Peaceful rallies across the nation in recent days have underscored the need for comprehensive immigration reform. But, instead of reaching out to work with Democrats to craft solutions, the White House chose to play fast and loose with the facts.”
FACT CHECK: SCOTT MCCLELLAN
FICTION: Scott McClellan today tried to lay the blame for the failure of comprehensive immigration reform to pass the Senate at the feet of Democrats. [White House Press Briefing, 4/12/06]
FACT: Today’s headlines tell a different story:
– “Immigrant Bill Fallout May Hurt House GOP” [Washington Post, 4/12/06]
– “IMMIGRATION: The House Bill Is What It Is Because Of Dems? So Claim Hastert And Frist” [Hotline, 4/12/06]
FACT: Last week, Senate Democrats voted twice to move forward on the comprehensive immigration bill. Not a single Republican joined the Democratic effort. [RC 89, S. 2454, 4/7/06; RC 88, S. 2454, 4/6/06]
FACT: Senate Republicans Worked to Undermine Comprehensive Reform.
– Frist Voted Against His Own Cloture Motion on the Hagel/Martinez Substitute Amendment. [RC 89, S. 2454, 4/7/06]
– Frist Told his Caucus to Oppose the Compromise. Frist encouraged his Republican colleagues to vote against the same compromise agreement he was touting the day before. [CQ Today, 4/7/06]
– Frist Won’t Commit to Bringing Immigrating Back to the Floor. After the immigration compromise fell through this morning, Frist “stopped short of a commitment to bring the issue back to the floor during the balance of the election-year session. ‘I intend to,’ he said, but added it would depend on the schedule of other bills.” [AP, 4/7/06]
Amendments filed by Senate Republicans to undermine the bill included:
1. Senator Kyl: gut the portions of the bill authorizing temporary workers and providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million.
2. Senator Isakson: block comprehensive reforms from becoming effective until the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the border is secure.
3. Senator Vitter: authorize the “Minutemen” vigilante program on the Mexican border.
4. Senator Inhofe: make English the official language of the United States.
FACT: Republicans in the House oppose comprehensive reform.
– Majority Leader Boehner Said He is Opposed to Comprehensive Reform. “‘You can’t begin to talk about a guest worker bill until you secure the borders,’ he said on ABC’s ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos.’ Otherwise, he said, ‘We’re going to have an endless parade of illegal immigrants here in our country.’” [Reuters 4/9/06]
– Republican House Bill Sought to Turn Illegal Immigrants into Felons. “The provision making illegal immigration a felony was part of a bill pushed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican. It passed the House in December by a vote of 239-182, with only 36 Democrats supporting the final version of the measure.” [CNN, 4/12/06]
– Representative Peter King Says the Senate Legislation Was the Result of Intimidation by Protesters. “The guest-worker proposal would create ‘an incentive for more illegal immigrants to come into the country . . .The outcry in the country is about the large number of illegal immigrants, and what the Senate has done to get around that problem is to, in effect, make them legal.’ King said the Senate was ‘intimidated by having hundreds of thousands of people in the streets waving flags. But I don’t think we should pass legislation or devise legislation based on how many people you can get out into the street.’” [Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 4/10/06]
– Rep. Tom Tancredo Says House Would Reject Senate Legislation for Comprehensive Reform. “The Senate compromise would ‘offer blanket amnesty to at least 10 million illegal aliens,’ charged Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., leader of the House hard-liners. ‘By surrendering to the amnesty demands of Democrats and squishy Republicans, Frist squandered a great opportunity to secure our borders,’ Tancredo said. ‘The Senate amnesty deal is miserable public policy that will be rejected by the House.’” [Denver Post, 4/7/06]
– Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: “I say let the prisoners pick the fruits.” [CBS/AP, 3/30/06]
– Rep. Steve King: “Anybody that votes for an amnesty bill deserves to be branded with a scarlet letter A.” [CBS/AP, 3/30/06]