It was a fiasco -- the worst possible result: A terribly flawed bill that, of all the GOP's Senate superstars, only Marco Rubio could support. All the other rising stars -- Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and John Thune -- voted "no," as did Leader McConnell and Whip Cornyn. Worse yet, the jam down created a toxic environment around immigration reform, greatly complicating if not dooming the effort in the House for this session.
For reasons I discussed with Bill Kristol (transcript here) and Mark Steyn (transcript here) on the day of the vote, the Speaker needs to find a way to distance the House from the Senate train wreck. Perhaps a quick vote down would be the best way, or a "no" vote on the same day the House passes its own "first step" border security bill. Who knows? As Robert Costa notes this morning, the Speaker plays his own game. But the Senate bill is political poison, and the Speaker and the Leader have no intention of surrendering their majority by embracing this fiasco of a bill.
How much of a fiasco? Read my interview from Wednesday with a very good guy and a serious conservative, Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota. It is pretty clear he got terrible advice on how statutes actually work when interpreted by the courts, and worse advice on what the fence meant to border security conservatives. We too often assume that legislators actually know how the laws they think they are drafting will actually work. There wasn't a member of Congress in the early '70s who knew how the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Acts would turn out to be twisted engines of anti-growth extremism, and as the Hoeven interview made clear, one of the authors of the key amendment actually thought he was mandating a fence that would work when he was doing exactly the opposite.
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