Carol Platt Liebau: Clay Pigeons and Unsatisfactory Amendments

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Clay Pigeons and Unsatisfactory Amendments

It's being reported that Harry Reid might use a procedural tactic -- a "clay pigeon" -- to help secure passage of the immigration bill.

Strategically, this strikes me as a mistake. When the issue at stake is as important, as controversial, and as sweeping as the immigration bill, sneaking it through with procedural sleight of hand is a poor way to run the country. "Clay pigeons" and other such tactics may have a place in preventing the passage of legislation -- operating under the "first, do no harm" theory and the Founders' clear intent to make it difficult for transient majorities to pass big legislation without solid majorities -- but it's wrong to use them to jam through a bill that's as widely opposed as this one is.

What's more, the amendments that reportedly will be considered do little to address the serious, substantive concerns of bill critics when it comes to border security and the possibility of terrorists from "countries of interest" entering through the south. It doesn't even mention allowing a vote on what would seem to be a very common sense amendment -- namely, the Cornyn amendment, which would have banned many varieties of convicted felons from amnesty or the benefits of citizenship.


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