I’m slightly hesitant to write this post because a lot of people are quite humorless about their politics. I could call their favorite book “shockingly stupid,” mock their favorite football team and describe their favorite movie as being “made by and for the dumbest people alive,” and not much would happen. Maybe a half-hearted e-mail or something (“Dude, The Expendables was the BEST ACTION MOVIE EVER MADE!!11!!!1!”). But if I rip on their chosen Presidential candidate, or oppose their thoughts on, I don’t know, gun control or something, the death threats and accusations of being a communist start rolling in.
Then I remembered that almost no one reads this blog. And there went that slight hesitation right out the window…
This article came from the AP via Yahoo!:
The chance for hundreds of thousands of young people to legally remain in the U.S. evaporated Tuesday when Republicans blocked a defense spending bill in the Senate.
Democrats failed to get a single Republican to help them reach the 60 votes needed to move forward on the defense bill and attach the DREAM Act as an amendment. The vote was 56-43. Arkansas Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor voted with Republicans. Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted to block the bill in a procedural move that allows the defense bill to be revived later.
Who knew Arkansas had two Democratic Senators? Also, if the Senate Majority Leader votes against a bill, that bill can be revived later? I’m no expert on Congressional procedure, but that sounds ass-backwards. And tell me again why an immigration act is being tacked on to a larger defense bill? Are Senators so lazy they just lump all their bills, acts and amendments together, vote and then catch a matinée showing of Eat, Pray, Love?
The DREAM Act allows young people to become legal U.S. residents after spending two years in college or the military. It applies to those who were under 16 when they arrived in the U.S., have been in the country at least five years and have a diploma from a U.S. high school or the equivalent.
My initial reaction to that paragraph: “All of that sounds reasonable. Of course it didn’t pass in the Senate.” But… Are our immigration laws so lacking, horrible and/or poorly enforced that illegal immigrants are accepted into the military now? And (I assume) public high schools? Did I pass out the day we covered this in U.S. History?
Several young people who would have benefited from the legislation watched the vote from the gallery, some wearing graduation caps and gowns. Many sat stone-faced when the vote tally was read. A young woman dressed in a gold cap and gown wiped away tears.
Most of the young immigrants knew victory was unlikely, but in the hours before the vote they walked the hallways of a Senate office building trying to drum up support.
In the hours after the vote, they ran away from the heavily armed cadre of Homeland Security officers waiting to deport them.
Republicans accused Democrats of playing politics with the defense bill and the DREAM Act. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has supported legislation legalizing illegal immigrants in the past, said Democrats were trying to galvanize Hispanics and energize their voters by trying to tack the DREAM Act onto the defense bill.
The bill also included a measure to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays.
“I don’t think anyone in the country will hold it against us for voting against their way of doing business,” Graham said.
I can think of at least “hundreds of thousands of young people” who may feel differently, Lindsey. And you voted against a bill, not “their way of doing business.” Unless there was an amendment to this bill that specifically allowed Democrats to do business their way.
Reid, D-Nev., said Republicans were “putting partisan politics ahead of the best interests of the men and women who courageously defend our nation” by blocking the bill, which would have authorized $726 billion in defense spending, including a pay raise for troops.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the majority whip, said repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and passing the DREAM Act were a matter of justice and fairness.
“We do not in this country hold the crimes and misdeeds of parents against their children,” Durbin, D-Ill., said in reference to the DREAM Act. He has been trying to pass the legislation for about a decade.
So one side doesn’t like the partisan politics of the other. The other side doesn’t like the way the first side does business. I have a solution: fire everybody and start over from scratch. More serious solution: strict 12-year term limits for all members of Congress (6 terms as a Representative or 2 terms as a Senator). You can mix-and-match between chambers, but unless you’re becoming President at the end of 12 years, you’re done. If you don’t have a career in politics to protect and don’t have to worry too much about reelection, shit might actually get done in Washington.
Earlier Tuesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he sent a letter to Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., backing the DREAM Act.
“America is the only country they know … they deserve every opportunity to go further in life. Our country needs the benefits of their skills, their talent and their passion,” Duncan said.
That is the first level-headed quote in this whole story.
… Graham had been working with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to draft an immigration reform bill but dropped out of the process as he took criticism in his state. Democrats were unable to persuade any other Republicans to take his place.
Lindsey backed out because the people he represents were unhappy with his stance on the issue. Fair enough – I can respect that, listening to your constituents. However, these are the same people who elected a governor who’s fond of leaving the United States without telling anyone to visit his mistress/”soul mate.” Just saying.
There’s more to the article, but it’s mostly filler and back-story. You can read it and fill in the spaces with wise-ass remarks yourself. Amazingly, I have more to say about this issue (immigration) but I’ll let it simmer for a couple more days. My eyes hurt.
(FJM style refers to the now defunct site Fire Joe Morgan, where the writers would pick apart, line by line, sports writing with unabashed glee and several F-bombs.)