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DAVID KRUSE

By Staff | Jul 5, 2013

The U.S. Senate may pass an immigration reform bill by more than 70 votes, and it is not going to make any difference in the House. Sixty-two Rrepresentatives voted against what was a reasonable farm bill and a larger number need to get their Tea Party ticket punched having voted against an immigration bill.

No immigration bill can pass the house with the words “amnesty” or “a path to citizenship” in it and no bill from the Senate is not going to have that in it so the issue is already stalemated before the Senate even votes.

My Congressman, Steve King, voted for the farm bill but will get his TP ticket punched opposing immigration reform. Business Republicans and the ag sector want immigration reform just like they did a farm bill.

Speaker John Boehner is not in control of anything. When he says that the House will work its will, what he means is that he has no influence over outcomes. He criticizes others for not leading, but he is not getting anyone to follow him either, due to the restrictions such as the Hastert rule that they impose on themselves.

The Constitution says that bills have to pass by majority congressional vote, but they never dreamed of partisanship trumping the Constitution whereby a majority of the majority is needed.

The House blew up over the farm bill, it is going to crash and burn over immigration, and if they have any energy left they will precipitate another financial crisis with their refusal to increase the debt ceiling this fall.

One thing I have noted from Congressional negotiations is that concessions made to Tea Party conservatives are not reciprocated with votes for bills.

They can add amendments that conservatives want, like the Southerland amendment to the farm bill, and they still vote no on the final bill, so concessions are actually useless.

That is a path to destruction as the negotiation process breaks down.

I have been surprised at how hard Democrats have worked on immigration reform considering how badly the GOP needs it. The Democrats are trying to save them, and the GOP just keeps refusing the help like a drowning man pushing the life preserver away.

If they stay on this path, we are going to get Pelosi back and Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves.

In my view having Pelosi as speaker could never be a good thing, but the GOP is doing everything that it can to look pathetic enough to get a 10 percent approval rating, which is even worse than Pelosi even got.

I think the amendment to the immigration bill to get more Republican Senators to vote for it is nuts. They are throwing another $38 to 46 billion into the wall that Ted Cruz thinks will build a fig leaf.

It is more than that. I am sure it would have some real impact on border security, but I don’t think that it is fiscally responsible. It is a border state economic stimulus package. I don’t want to pay for it.

I think that it is a too-expensive political payoff that is not going to work. House conservatives are going to do what Ted tells them to, not what the Senate or John Boehner asks them to do.

The House may vote for border security, but it will never vote for a comprehensive measure with a path to citizenship. The House, as defined by a simple majority, likely would pass a comprehensive immigration bill, but the application of the Hastert rule will deny such a vote from taking place.

I think Boehner’s speakership is on the line.

It will be interesting if they can fix their farm bill mess. Paul Ryan lost it this week blaming the defeat of the farm bill on Democrats. First, the farm bill those Democrats promised 40 votes for was amended, so Republicans changed the deal on them. Second, 40 votes from Democrats would have not passed the bill. Third, Ryan voted against it, so why is he complaining that Democrats voted like he did? Speaker Ryan anybody?

Steve Southerland, who introduced the offending amendment, plus Republicans, adding more restrictions to SNAP (food stamps) eligibility that upset the balance resulting in the bill’s defeat, has reportedly offered to withdraw the amendment if they could vote again. That sounds too reasonable.

If they couldn’t get 62 conservatives to vote for the last tougher bill, why would they vote for one that has been watered down? Embarrassment maybe? I don’t think that conservatives get embarrassed.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who functions as a one-man rules committee, said that the Senate will not approve another farm bill extension, so if the House does nothing we revert to 1949 permanent law and we get parity prices.

Wait until consumers get a load of those milk prices.

SNAP spending continues unreformed. If the House blinks and passes a farm bill, it goes to conference committee. When it comes back it will be more like the Senate bill which the House conservatives loath.

I don’t think that they can stop a vote on the conferenced bill so the majority of the House and not a majority of the majority gets to decide on the final bill.

That is why 62 conservatives voted against the farm bill last week.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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