Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Sessions’
December 2nd, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Senator Sessions Responds to Current Plan Being Floated in House Re: Obama’s Immigration Decree
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The following statement was released earlier today by Senator Jeff Sessions in response to the current plan being floated in the House of Representatives in response to President Obama’s immigration decree.

“The Chairman of the Republican Party made a promise to America on executive amnesty: ‘We can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen… everything we can do to stop it we will.’

Unfortunately, the plan now being circulated in the House fails to meet that test. The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security, and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants—reducing wages, jobs, and benefits for Americans.

Congress considered and rejected these changes to immigration law in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014. The President’s action erases the laws Congress has passed in order to implement laws Congress has refused to pass.

Now the President demands Congress fund his imperial decree and declare its own irrelevance.

That is why Congress must respond to the President’s unlawful action by funding the government but not funding illegal amnesty. This is a perfectly sound and routine application of congressional authority. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that last year’s omnibus spending bill included 16 such funding restrictions on fee-based programs.

Such a plan would put the focus where it belongs: on Senate Democrats. They are the ones who should be made to choose sides—save Obama’s amnesty or save Americans’ jobs and borders.

Polling shows voters believe that Americans should get preference for available jobs by almost a 10-1 margin. Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but mount a bold defense of struggling Americans.

Billions of dollars and countless hours have been spent advocating immigration policies that help everyone but the actual citizens of this country. Who will be their voice, if not us?” 


Since taking office, President Obama has engaged in a sustained and calculated campaign to dismantle the immigration laws of the United States. As his own former ICE Director, John Sandweg, explained: “if you’re a run-of-the-mill immigrant living here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.” ICE officers report that their agency caters to special interests and open borders activists, while they are ordered to ignore their oaths and the laws of the United States.

Additionally, since the year 2000, the U.S. has issued nearly 30 million lawful visas for permanent immigrants or temporary guest workers. As reported by the Pew Research Center, the total number of immigrants in the U.S. has reached a record 41.3 million. The share of the U.S. population that was born in another country, per the Census Bureau, has quadrupled.

According to Harvard labor economist Dr. George Borjas, current high immigration rates result in a $402 billion annual wage loss for American workers.

December 13th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
Ryan’s Rope and Boehner’s Blunder

At NRO this week, I made it clear that I really don’t like Paul Ryan’s budget deal. I now rush in to urge everybody, on all sides on the right, not to over-react. This admonition applies to Speaker John Boehner, too.

Background: While I haven’t always thought Boehner has strategized brilliantly or played his tactical cards wisely, I also think conservatives have frequently gone way overboard in portraying him as some sort of outrageous sellout, “squish,” or (in some cases) flat-out enemy. The man has very solid ratings from the American Conservative Union, and he is a far more effective, and far more conservative, Speaker than Dennis Hastert was; and in many ways he is steadier than Newt Gingrich was.

I’ve also been, over the course of many years, one of Paul Ryan’s foremost advocates, and while I have been far less happy with him this year, my prior post on him (before this deal) was far more in support than opposed.

The point is that I think both Ryan and Boehner are, or at least usually have been, trying their hardest, legitimately, to achieve conservative goals. I mostly do not question their intentions (although both are showing worrisome signs even on that front, but that’s for another day’s discussion), but I do question some of their decisions.

I also think Boehner has very good reason to feel very, very angry at the conservative groups that have portrayed him as being just this side of the devil incarnate, utterly failing to modulate their criticism to match the severity (or lack thereof) of his alleged crimes against ideological purity. It is an axiom of politics that if you treat somebody as an enemy, as the groups have treated Boehner, then eventually he actually starts seeing himself as your enemy — and treats you accordingly. (Conservatives did this to John McCain in the late 1990s, when his only apostasy was on campaign finance, taking positions that most conservatives had taken as recently as six years earlier, before George Will made opposition to McCain-like efforts a cause celebre. McCain was wrong, but he was otherwise solidly conservative and saw himself as one, until conservatives started treating him as an outright pariah — which of course, with his awful temperament, caused him to become increasingly opposed to us on all sorts of issues.)

None of which, though, excuses Boehner’s public conniption fits this week. Boehner’s job as a national leader on the right is to pull people together, not drive them apart. His job is to make it easier to unify to win elections, not to drive wedges that exacerbate cannibalism on the right. He should be trying to bring activists in, not drive them away.

And in this case, he also was wrong on substance in way overstating the case that Ryan’s deal is a win for conservatives and a move towards smaller government. Even if one accepts all of Ryan’s numbers — which, as I explained in the column linked above, are bogus numbers — the deficit reduction over ten years ($23 billion, or a paltry $2.3 billion per year) would amount to extremely small potatoes. The fact — and it is a fact — that the claimed reduction involves lots of smoke and mirrors makes the vehemence of Boehner’s claims even more out of line.

As for Ryan, I actually do think he sincerely thinks he has gotten the best deal he can. (He knows darn well, however, that he is using a lot of gimmicks to make the deal look better to conservatives than it actually is. So he’s not being fully honest — again — and he is also helping feed the impression that conservative hard-liners are unreasonable, which is a counterproductive impression for the long-term cause of good government.) But I think he was not just wrong, but asinine, in shutting out his Senate counterpart (and longtime ally) Jeff Sessions from negotiations that should have included Sessions. What happens when one shuts out Senate conservatives is that there is nobody to raise a red flag when Senate-specific issues come up that really, really make a difference for conservative governance. In this case, Ryan allowed the deal to include an absolutely horrible waiver of Senate budget rules, to the effect that, despite his staff’s pitiful claims to the contrary, really will make it easier for taxes to be raised in the future.

All in all, despite my NRO column, I do not think this deal was an absolutely horrible one; it was merely bad, not horrific, and it was a comparatively minor deal, not a major one. But, as Fred Barnes correctly wrote, we gave up a great deal when we breached the budgetary sequester — and we got precious little in return for it.

In sum (after lots of one-hand/other-hand discussion — sorry!), while conservatives are rightly angry at yet another policy defeat, and while Boehner’s intemperate remarks — in effect, a declaration of war against some of the conservative activist groups — were extraordinarily unwise, it still behooves all of us to take deep breaths and try to gain some perspective. We now do so in the knowledge that Paul Ryan is playing macro-political games that put his personal ambitions above those of the conservative movement, and that Boehner has been pushed to the verge of a McCain-like, all-out-war against the movement. These are not good developments.

Conservatives now can do two things. In the short term, we can encourage senators to join Sessions and Mitch McConnell in opposition to Ryan’s deal. It might still be defeatable. For the long run, I repeat the call I made here two months ago for a summit on the right, to try to pull people together and strategize better. We have an extraordinary opportunity in 2014 for electoral gains, in response to the debacle of ObamaCare. It would be inexcusable for continued warfare on the right to destroy that opportunity. Constructive criticism is fine. Cannibalism isn’t.

June 25th, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Left & Right Agree: Immigration Bill Hurts Workers

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been telling anyone who will listen that the immigration reform bill set to pass the U.S. Senate will hurt low-skill and entry-level workers. Flood the market with millions of cheap labor, and the results will be a dip in wages and a scarcity of jobs.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) agrees. This week Sanders, the Socialist who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, got the Gang of Eight and their allies to include a program that will fund summer jobs for American youths (ages 16-24) displaced by the wave of legalized immigrants once the reform becomes law.

Cost to taxpayers: $1.5 billion over two years.

The Sanders program is one of the price-spiking changes made by the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.

Besides the cost, including the provision undermines the Gang’s argument that legalizing 11 million people won’t have a negative impact on current legal workers.

If this bill becomes law, it’s almost certain that this won’t be Congress’ last attempt to spend its way out of an unemployment problem it is choosing to create.

H/T: Byron York

February 16th, 2012 at 8:14 pm
Bad Week for Obama Budget Director

It’s been a bad week for Office of Management and Budget Director Jeff Zients, the man tasked with defending President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal.

In testimony before the House Budget Committee Zients told Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) that the penalty for not complying with ObamaCare’s mandate to buy health insurance is not a tax increase.  (Subscription wall.)  In response, Rep. Garrett said, “Okay.  I just want to be clear on that because that’s not the argument the Administration is making before the Supreme Court.”

Before the Senate Budget Committee Zients was even more out-of-touch.  Under questioning from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Zients claimed that Obama’s 2013 budget contained spending cuts – a distortion Sessions would not tolerate:

Mr. Zients, there are no spending cuts in this budget. This budget increases spending. Surely you know that. It increases taxes. So to say you cut $2.50 in spending for every dollar in tax increase is beyond the pale.

So too is the entire shell game about ‘deficit reduction’ when what liberals like Obama really mean is tax increases to pay for spending increases.  If the President won’t admit it at least his budget director will be made to.

October 24th, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Jeff Sessions Puts Welfare in Perspective

Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, ranking member on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, has been doing yeoman’s work on multiple levels in highlighting waste and proposing both procedural and substantive solutions. His efforts merit, and will in the next few weeks receive, a full column to recount them. By pure happenstance, I shared a plane with the senator and then a lunch at the Atlanta airport with him yesterday. One of the many budget-related topics we touched on was welfare — or, more precisely, food stamps and other welfare-benefits that were not fixed by the tremendous 1996 welfare reform that turned Aid to Families with Dependent Children (a mess) into Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (a huge success). One thing he said was more big-picture and attitudinal than it was program-specific and numbers heavy (although there was plenty of other discussion that did fit those latter categories). I repeat it here both as a teaser for a near-future column, and because, as usual, the good senator is right on target. To quote Sessions:

We need to go back to re-engage the national discussion on how receipt of welfare benefits not only is damaging to the Treasury but also hurts the recipient. We need to go back and re-establish the moral principle that federal assistance should be seen as a temporary aid where possible and the goal should be to help people become independent and self-sustaining.

Jack Kemp used to talk like that. Rick Santorum talks like that. Sometimes Paul Ryan at least comes close to talking like that. There is a nexus between morality and economic policy; it’s not all dollar signs and accounting, but instead about human potential and human lives. Kemp and others used to talk about getting rid of the “welfare trap,” and that’s exactly what Sessions is talking about. The right sort of compassion is one that helps somebody lift himself up, not one that gives him incentive to remain personally helpless.

October 21st, 2011 at 10:21 am
Senators Sessions, Snowe Echo CFIF on Overspending and Federal Employee Pay
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In our commentary this week entitled “While Federal Spending Hit New Record in 2011, Washington, D.C. Became America’s Wealthiest City”, we highlight the interrelation between federal spending reaching a new record high in 2011 and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area becoming the nation’s wealthiest.   Among other facts, we pointed out that wages of federal employees themselves are over 1/5 higher than comparable private-sector employees, and that federal benefits stand 20%-40% higher than those of private counterparts.

Today, Senators Jeff Sessions and Olympia Snowe sustain our point in their commentary within The Wall Street Journal entitled “An End to Budgetary Trickery.”  Advocating the Honest Budget Act they’ve introduced to end “the most blatant and dishonest” overspending gimmicks, they highlight “Fake Federal Pay Freezes”:

In November 2010, the president promised to institute a ‘two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal workers.’  He explained that ‘getting this deficit under control is going to require broad sacrifice.’  But 70% of civilian federal workers have continued to receive 2%-3% automatic ‘step’ increases just for showing up – costing taxpayers an extra billion dollars every year.  The Honest Budget Act, in keeping with the president’s pledge, would simply make the federal pay freeze real by legislative mandate.”

Senators Sessions and Snowe also seek to end false “emergency” spending, phony “rescissions” and timing shifts in their legislation.  As they summarize, “No more gimmicks, tricks or shell games.”  We agree, and urge you to take a quick moment to contact your two Senators in support of the Honest Budget Act.   Let’s get this done.

February 18th, 2011 at 2:17 am
Even Tim Geithner Believes Obama’s Budget is “Unsustainable”

In response to questioning from Senator Jeff Sessions during a Budget Committee hearing yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted President Obama’s proposed budget creates an “excessively high interest burden” that is “unsustainable.”

The president’s proposal would add $13 trillion in new gross debt and would increase interest payments on the national debt to $844 billion annually by 2021.

August 3rd, 2010 at 4:08 pm
Senator Sessions: Kagan would be “an activist, liberal, progressive, politically-minded judge…”

Earlier today, the Senate began its floor debate on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to serve a lifetime appointment on the United States Supreme Court.  Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions did one heck of a bang up job laying out the case against her confirmation during his opening statement.

Sessions stated that Kagan’s record leaves “no doubt what kind of judge she would be:  An activist, liberal, progressive, politically-minded judge who would not be happy simply to decide cases, but will seek to advance her causes under the guise of judging.”

Watch Senator Sessions’ opening remarks, which highlight everything you need to know about Elena Kagan, in their entirety below.