Ted Cruz now runs Congress: House border bill lunges to the right, as Tea Party senator bests Boehner

Thanks to efforts of "Speaker Cruz," John Boehner is forced to offer another vote on hard-line legislation

Topics: John Boehner, Congress, House, Senate, Ted Cruz, Border crisis, border legislation, Harry Reid, August recess,

Ted Cruz now runs Congress: House border bill lunges to the right, as Tea Party senator bests BoehnerTed Cruz, John Boehner (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite/Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

A few weeks ago, President Obama requested a several billion dollar supplemental from Congress to address the influx of Central American migrant children accruing on the border. The naive idea was that each chamber of Congress would pass a bill, they’d smooth out the dollars and cents in a conference committee, pass the conference report, get the president’s signature, and resources would be dispatched southward.

But now, with Congress set to go on a five-week vacation after today’s action, the chances of reaching a border compromise are zero. Both majority conferences, House Republicans and Senate Democrats, are merely trying to go on the record stating their general position on immigration politics as a whole. It was a bit silly to think that a targeted bill for a few billion dollars on anything related to the border could work its way through Congress without getting blown up into a larger proxy battle about immigration, and that’s exactly what’s happened.

The Senate is adjourning today. Its $2.7 billion package passed its first procedural vote yesterday — barely — and now appears likely to get mired in a soul-destroying debate over amendments. “Republicans will demand votes on their own proposals aimed at the border crisis, arguing for an open amendment process and consideration of bills to attack President Barack Obama’s deferred action policies and change a 2008 anti-trafficking law,” Politico writes. “But Democrats may decide they want a vote on an amendment of their own to the border bill, according to Senate Democratic aides: Comprehensive immigration reform.” In other words, there’s no time or inclination among lawmakers to get a finished product out of the Senate today. Senate Democrats will spend August campaigning that their solution to the border is the same as their solution to immigration as a whole: the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed last year.



The House is also adjourning today, and it does have border votes scheduled. Imminently. The leadership’s pared down $659 million bill appeared to be on death’s doorstep last night, as House conservatives and their beloved leader, Sen. Ted Cruz, spent the evening plotting over pizza, candy and adult beverages. While it’s hard to say with certainty that the supplemental will pass today, its chances look a lot better now. Boehner and the leadership have ceded conservatives a separate vote on ending DACA, “the president’s amnesty plan” — a vote they’ll only get to take if they first pass the supplemental.

But the DACA bill, drafted by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, isn’t just about the program that President Obama created via executive action in 2012. It’s more about curtailing Obama’s power to implement his upcoming executive orders that would halt deportations. From the Washington Examiner’s Byron York:

The bill says that “unless explicitly authorized by law” — that is, unless Congress authorizes it — the federal government may not issue any “guidance, memorandums, regulations, policies, or other similar instruments” that would expand the number of illegal immigrants eligible for deferred action under President Obama’s 2012 executive order that stopped deportations of some illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. The bill would also bar any part of the federal government from “newly authoriz[ing] deferred action for any class of aliens not in lawful immigration status in the United States.” And it would bar the government from “newly authoriz[ing] any alien to work in the United States” if that person is in the country illegally. That pretty much covers what Obama is reportedly planning to do.

So Senate Democrats won’t be able to pass a border bill before the recess and will attack Republicans for killing comprehensive immigration reform and now using the border crisis as a vehicle to try to maximize interior deportations. House Republicans will vote on, and perhaps pass, two bills that authorize some funding for the border and block the administration’s ability to defer action on deportations.

Good work, everyone! Let’s all go on vacation.

Update: Having some trouble gathering votes, are we? Wow.

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...