Thursday, March 13, 2008

Conferees have been named for the Indiana employer-enforcement bill, so the measure survives for now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Obama wins Mississippi about 60-38.
Readers may remember an immigration employer-enforcement bill passing the Indiana House a few weeks ago. A version has also passed the state Senate. But this measure may never make it beyond the legislature: the House has not yet appointed conferees for the conference report session that must take place before it can go forward. The legislative session ends on Friday and, without a report by then, this measure could be headed toward what one report calls a "legislative graveyard." Many speculate that this refusal to appoint conferees may be a behind-the-scenes attempt to kill the bill. It seems as though action on appointing a conference committee will, at the moment, be delayed until Thursday.
Right now, there are some differences between the Senate and House bills that need to be ironed out before the legislation can move forward. Indiana House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer (D) seems to be hedging a little about if he will appoint conference committee members (e.a.):
"Eventually, I probably will, but we want to know some of the intent," Bauer said. "My suggestion to (the Senate) would be to concur (on the House version). It's a bill that does not have huge loopholes in it like the one sent over here."
Asked whether he would concur on the House bill, Senate President Pro Tempore David C. Long, R-Fort Wayne, said, "I think there's some questions about the funding," referring to $1.5 million added for the attorney general and State Police.
"There's a great deal of money poured into the bill which wasn't discussed here in the Senate. There are legitimate concerns on both sides of the issue about what the proper language will be and who should ultimately be responsible for hiring an illegal immigrant."
Backers of the bill, Sen. Mike Delph (R) and Rep. Vern Tincher (D), say they're optimistic about getting a conference committee. The legislation has faced a number of procedural obstacles before and has survived, so they may be right. But there also does seem to be some concerted effort to find some way of blocking this bill, and opponents of this measure may succeed in running out the clock.
Over 600 "illegal immigrants" have been recently apprehended in Arizona.
It seems as though House Republicans and some Democrats may push for a vote on the SAVE Act:

House Republicans are eyeing a bill by Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., that would do just that, as well as mandate that employers verify that their workers are in the U.S. legally.

Leaders are expected later this week to use a parliamentary tactic that would eventually force a vote on the measure if 218 lawmakers — a majority of the House — demand it. Republicans are pressuring Democratic backers of the measure — including several first-termers and dozens from swing districts, all facing tough re-election fights — to defy their leaders and sign the petition.

"Lots of Republicans and lots of Democrats would like to see something done," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the No. 2 whip, said Friday.

The move would be a rebuke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who opposes the Shuler bill unless it's paired with measures to allow undocumented workers a chance at legal status and allow legal immigrants to bring more family members to the United States. Democratic leaders have been working behind the scenes to craft an alternative that could dissuade their more conservative members who back Shuler's bill from joining the GOP effort to press forward on it.

They are considering pairing a widely popular measure by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to allow more seasonal workers to come to the United States under so-called H-2B visas with proposals aimed at speeding the process of granting immigrants' spouses and minor children visas to join their parents in the U.S., among others. Also under discussion is a bill that would allow nonresident immigrants serving in the military to become citizens.

Pelosi seems like she wants to avoid a vote on this act, and it does seem as though she may fear being caught over a barrel: she doesn't want this bill to pass, but she doesn't want to endanger House Democrats who vote against this measure (and she does seem to think that voting against this measure may endanger some members). Especially as this bill focuses on employers, it may make Pelosi especially uncomfortable.

Monday, March 10, 2008

In the wake of the NAFTA-Canada flap, is Barack Obama's campaign subtly trying to distance itself from Austan Goolsbee, who used to be touted as one of Obama's top economic advisers? Karl at Protein Wisdom thinks so.