Congress

Dropping out is not an alternative

Dropping out is an appealing escape route, and many good men and women have already taken that path. But true patriots will resist and overcome that temptation.

I'm certain you have all noticed how the media handles the stories of the day.  But it's our job to point out to them that we see it and don't like it.  We must insist on honest, fair and complete reporting without the media bias we have become so accustomed to.  It's shameful!

Read Tom Tancredo's excellent article and you decide if it's time to speak up.


 

Congress extends E-Verify for 3 more years with near-unanimous support

Oh, how things have changed in just a few years.

It was just 3 years ago that an E-Verify extension was in doubt, making Thursday's near-unanimous House approval so significant.

To be clear, neither action was about mandating E-Verify for all employers. But for the government to even be allowed to offer E-Verify for voluntary use, the extensions had to be passed in 2009 and again this month.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved, with almost unanimous support, a bill that extends E-Verify for another 3 years. The electronic employment verification program, which NumbersUSA believes would have the biggest impact in ending the flow of illegal immigration to the United States, is set to expire at the end of the month, but, now that it's passed through both chambers of Congress, we fully expect Pres. Obama to sign the extension into law.

The extension was offered in the Senate, by Democratic Senator Pat Leahy, where it passed with unanimous consent. The bill then showed up on Tuesday's House calendar under a House procedure called "Suspension of the Rules". The House suspends the rules when House Leaders believe the bill is "non-controversial" and has support of at least two-thirds of its Members. When the bill is brought to the floor, a motion to suspend the rules is raised. No amendments are offered and a two-thirds vote is required for passage. In many instances, there's no roll call, just a voice vote. After coming to the floor on Tuesday, the vote was delayed until Thursday when it passed by a 412-to-3 margin .

E-Verify is now officially, in the minds of Congress and its Leaders, "non-controversial". The E-Verify extension didn't come without compromise, though. The bill also extends three small visa programs, including religious worker visas, investor visas, and cultural exchange visas.

Why was today's vote such a big deal? Three years ago, an extension of the E-Verify program was a bit more contentious.

It was set to expire in March of 2009, so lawmakers began working on an extension in the fall of 2008. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, however, wouldn't lift a hold he placed on the extension without a massive increase in green cards, so Congress kicked the E-Verify can down the road until the spring.

Facing expiration at the end of March 2009, a new debate started during the Senate's consideration of a must-pass, omnibus spending bill earlier in the month. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama offered a 5-year E-Verify extension as an amendment, but a motion to table the amendment was raised - ironically by Sen. Leahy. The motion to table passed by a 50-to-47 margin, but Congress did gave E-Verify a 6-month lifeline by extending the program through September 2009.

In June 2009, the debate surfaced again with the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee including a 2-year reauthorization in its markup of the DHS spending bill for 2010. The bill would eventually pass through the House.

In July 2009, Sen. Sessions offered an amendment during the Senate's consideration of the DHS spending bill, but this amendment would permanently reauthorize E-Verify. Again, a motion to table Sen. Sessions amendment was raised, but unlike in the spring, and with the unemployment rate soaring, the motion was defeated by a 44-to-53 margin. (Read Roy's analysis of the vote.)

The DHS spending bill, however, never became law, and it wasn't until a continuing resolution passed in October 2009 that E-Verify was re-authorized.

So after all the drama of 2009, here we are in the first week of legislative business after a month-long summer recess, and the House has quietly passed a bill, without controversy, that will extend E-Verify through September of 2015.

We would have liked a permanent reauthorization of E-Verify like the one Sen. Sessions offered back in 2009, but an extension of E-Verify before it expired and without controversy is a major improvement over 2009, and maybe one small step towards a nationwide mandate of E-Verify for all employers in the future.

E-Verify needed now more than ever

It seems like only yesterday when we were calling members of Congress asking them to extend the E-Verify program. Those of you who were members in 2009 likely recall that it looked as if E-Verify was going to die. Thanks to your actions and phone calls from thousands of citizens we saved it. Look what happened last week when the reauthorization came up for another vote. What a different story this year!

This past Thursday the House of Representatives passed a three-year extension of E-Verify by a 412 to 3 vote. It passed the Senate by a unanimous consent vote.

At the Oregon Legislature Representative Kim Thatcher is going to introduce an E-Verify bill for next year’s session.  American citizens should not have to compete at any time for jobs against workers who are illegally in the country. It is unconscionable that during the worst recession since the Great Depression that American workers are faced with precisely that situation. E-Verify is needed now more than ever.

Read more in this great write up from NumbersUSA

Friday, September 7, 5th Congressional District Debate

Alert date: 
2012-09-05
Alert body: 

-Election 2012-

5th Congressional District Debate:   Lugo, Schrader and Thompson

Salem City Club is pleased to host a debate between the three candidates seeking to represent Oregon's 5th congressional district in U.S. House of Representatives. Join us on Friday, September 7 at noon when we open our 45th season with this dynamic program. Congressional District 5 encompasses Tillamook, Lincoln, Polk, Marion, and Clackamas counties, rural, metro, coastal, and suburban neighborhoods.

For more information please visit the Salem City club website.

NOTE:  Incumbent Kurt Schrader has a D grade on immigration issues according to NumbersUSA.  Oregon deserves better!

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