Journos Still Don't Understand House Cannot Act on Senate Amnesty Bill

By Jon Feere on December 3, 2013

Journalists should really do their research before writing on the status of the Senate amnesty bill, particularly if they plan on pressuring House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) to pass an amnesty.

Those paying close attention know that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) never sent the Senate's gargantuan amnesty bill (S.744) over to the House of Representatives. Reid has refused to do so because he knows his bill is unconstitutional because the bill raises revenue; the Constitution requires all bills raising revenue to originate in the House, not the Senate. Mr. Reid is well aware that, if he were to send the bill to the House, it would be "blue-slipped" — stopped by a legislative procedure that allows House members to shut down a bill that runs afoul of the Constitution's Origination Clause.

In other words, there is no immigration bill for the House to take up. Boehner cannot bring the Senate bill before the House for a vote. In some sense, it could be argued that Harry Reid and the Senate have delayed an immigration vote by passing a massive, unconstitutional bill. Had the Senate passed smaller, more focused bills, perhaps some of them would already be law.

Congressman Steve Stockman (R- Texas) explained:

Even Harry Reid now admits the Senate's amnesty bill is unconstitutional and cannot become law. Any bill that raises revenue must start in the House. By creating their own amnesty taxes Senate Democrats broke the rules. Senate Democrats were so hell-bent on ramming through a gift to radical political activists they didn't bother to check if it was even legal. They got caught trying to sneak an illegal bill past the Constitution’s borders.

As it stands, amnesty advocates in the Senate and White House are relying on the House Republicans to initiate Obama's amnesty agenda. Thus far they have refused to do so, likely seeing no political benefit.

The fact that the Senate amnesty bill is unconstitutional and still in Reid's hands has been explored by the Washington Times editorial board, The Hill, Breitbart, and a number of other websites. But apparently some media sources remain clueless.

On November 29, the Los Angeles Times erroneously explained that "the speaker has refused to take up the Senate's sweeping bipartisan overhaul of immigration laws, even though it would probably pass the House with Democratic support."

A day later, the Associated Press published an article claiming that "Speaker John Boehner has refused to schedule a vote on a comprehensive immigration measure the Senate passed this summer."

Of course, Boehner cannot schedule a vote on a bill that isn't in his possession. He hasn't "refused" to do anything.

Forty-eight hours later, the editorial board of the Sacramento Bee directed Boehner to "Just bring S.744 to the House floor for a vote and see if a majority supports it." The Bee exclaimed, "If he would bring the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill to a vote in the House, it would likely pass."

Again, Boehner cannot bring the Senate bill to the House floor if Harry Reid is still sitting on it.

While it is true that the legislative process is convoluted, it is not asking too much for the media to do some research before cheerleading the open-border crowd's latest agenda item. The public deserves better.