Friday, September 28, 2007

Over at the Politico, Mike Allen reports that Robert Novak will report that the chair of the national GOP, Sen. Mel Martinez (FL), will be stepping down once someone "clinches" the GOP nomination:
Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was named general chairman of the Republican Party only nine months ago, has advised associates that he will leave the post as soon as somebody clinches the party's presidential nomination. That probably will come after the Feb. 5 primary elections next year. When Martinez took the party post Jan. 19, it was expected he would stay on through the 2008 elections as the GOP's principal national spokesman. Many Republicans now grumble that Martinez has been ineffective in that role, partly because he has been drowned out by the many presidential hopefuls. Kentucky lawyer Mike Duncan, who came on board with Martinez as chairman of the Republican National Committee, is expected to remain running day-to-day operations at national party headquarters for the balance of his two-year term.
It seems as though the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pressing Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) for more unanimity among House Democrats on immigration-related measures; they're concerned about how some Democratic members of the House are supporting some Republican-back immigration measures. Maybe that's why Pelosi is now speaking out against the border fence?
Some anecdotal evidence of "illegal immigrants" leaving localities/states with stronger enforcement provisions?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A group of "illegal immigrants" has filed a lawsuit against Danbury, CT and the federal government over an immigration raid last year.
So who "won" in the pulling of the DREAM Act from the DoD bill--opponents of the act or supporters? At this point, I think it could be unclear. While pulling the act did probably indicate that supporters of it lacked the votes to get it passed at this time (which would seem to favor opponents), its separation from the DoD bill may be able to pull some senators into supporting it who had previously been opposed because they didn't think it should be attached to the defense measure (which would seem to be an advantage for supporters). Complaining about its attachment to the DoD bill could give some senators cover who had previously supported DREAM-like measure but now wanted to change their minds; they might not have the same cover for a stand-alone bill. It still sounds up in the air to me--and a few arms could be twisted between now and November.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Majority Leader Sen. Reid (D-NV) has apparently decided that the DREAM Act will not be voted on as an amendment to the DoD bill. He hopes, however, to have this measure voted on by some time in November. Some supporters of the DREAM Act sound disappointed; some opponents sound pleased. But both sides are gearing up for a renewed battle--and thinking about those senators who said they opposed Durbin's amendment because it was attached to the DoD bill. Reid has a press release up (in Spanish--not one in English yet [UPDATE: English version added]) reiterating his support for the DREAM Act and hopes for its passage.
The strike ends: the UAW and GM reach an agreement on a new contract.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Washington Times has some information on the E-Verify system (aka the Basic Pilot Program). It reports that, in October, all new federal hires will have to be checked on this system.
Some are concerned about the constitutionality of an immigration law due to go into effect in Oklahoma on November 1. This measure
makes it illegal to transport, conceal, and harbor or house illegal immigrants. Violation of this order would be considered a felony, punishable by no less than a year in prison or a $1,000 fine.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Hill has some information on the back-room struggle over the DREAM Act:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the majority whip, wants to offer the legislation, dubbed the DREAM Act, as an amendment to the defense authorization bill, which the Senate could vote on this week.

But the Illinois Democrat has yet to strike a deal with Republicans, who may block the amendment from consideration, and he faces intense competition from Senate colleagues fighting to attach other provisions to the defense bill.

Although procedural obstacles could bottle up the amendment, the possibility of a vote has spurred groups on both sides of the immigration debate to ratchet up their lobbying efforts, three months after sweeping immigration reform collapsed in the Senate.
What was the sticking point in negotiations between GM and the UAW? The UAW claims it is job security for they future; the autoworkers' union wants guarantees from GM that certain future car models will be built in the US:
UAW officials said the 73,000 UAW members who work at about 80 U.S. facilities for the nation's largest automaker didn't strike Monday over what many thought would trip up the talks: A plan to shift the retiree health care burden from the company to the union. They said they also didn't strike over wages.

They said union members walked out because they want GM to promise that future cars and trucks such as the replacement for the Chevrolet Cobalt small car or the still-on-the-drawing board Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car will be built at U.S. plants, preserving union jobs.

CQ reports on some struggles in the House between "moderate" and "conservative" Republicans over influence in various committees. Boehner seems to be trying to keep the peace:

So far, Boehner has kept mum about whom he will favor for the most coveted committee slots in the next Congress — and about what factors will be the most important in making those choices.

In addition to seniority, Boehner has signaled that legislative accomplishments will be weighed in the next round of deliberations over leadership posts, along with other factors like whether aspirants meet or exceed their National Republican Congressional Committee fund-raising quotas.

The old system, long presided over by DeLay and inherited by Boehner, tended to reward conservatives and punish

moderates. Financial service to the party was important, but so was ideological cohesion.

A helpful reader passes along a (subscriber-only)Roll Call story on a resolution House Democrats are considering putting forward on immigration:

House Democratic leaders are drafting a resolution designed to inoculate freshman lawmakers on the issue of immigration, despite concerns from within their own Caucus about reopening debate over the contentious topic.

According to several freshman Democratic lawmakers in attendance at a weekly breakfast meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Members were told to prepare statements on the resolution, which will endorse laws already on the books that prevent illegal immigrants from participating in taxpayer-funded programs, such as Social Security or food stamps.

In a draft of the resolution obtained by Roll Call, the measure expresses the sense of the House “with respect to the importance of upholding federal immigration laws and ensuring the integrity and security of the borders of the United States.”

In addition to the language on public benefits, the draft resolution also contains provisions calling on the executive branch to enforce laws on voter fraud and border security.

But one House lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, said some senior Members have objected to the proposal over concerns that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to limit the scope of the debate. The House largely abandoned plans to pursue a comprehensive immigration reform bill earlier this year after the Senate failed to cut off debate on its own version of the legislation, effectively killing the bill.

Some think that this measure could be on the floor within a week--others think it could be longer.

According to Rasmussen, Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) is ahead in re-election polling for 2008, but his level of support lingers around the 50% mark--a mark most incumbents want to go beyond. He was originally more supportive of the "grand bargain" (though he ultimately voted against it), and Georgian voters seem to want greater enforcement. 76% think it is very important that the government increase border security and "reduce illegal immigration."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A story reflects on the effects of a federal judge's temporary restraining order on the Bush administration's announced new rules for employer verification.