They laughed when I worried that a "lame duck" Democratic congress might pass the so-called DREAM Act--a conditional amnesty for illegal immigrants who were brought into the country when they were young, a bill that would provide a powerful new incentive for illegal immigration (cross the border and your kid gets to be legal!). People like me shouldn't worry, we were told. Dems were only pandering to Latino voters. The pols would lose interest after the eelction.
Ha. The election's over--and both Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, say they want to bring the DREAM act to a vote in the lame duck, while the Dems still control Congreess.
But I still shouldn't worry, I'm told. You see, the lame duck Congress has so many huge bills to consider (extension of the Bush tax cuts, the revived estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, the huge pending cut in Medicare doctor reimbursements, etc.) that there won't be any time for the little old DREAM Act. Some DREAM opponents have accepted this line of reasoning.
They may be right. But it seems to me the trainwreck of big legislative issues is another reason for DREAM opponents to worry. Why? Precisely because compared with the giant, headline;grabbing issues, DREAM looks like small potatoes. Suppose the Democrats fight furiously against a big item on the GOP wish list--say, extending the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,00--but suddenly let Republicans know that they will cave, and give their opponents a huge victory, if only the GOP agrees to slide this little immigration provision into the larger bill. Will Republicans have the fortitude to say "no"? Will the press pay attention to the DREAM "sweetener," or focus only on the big set-piece tax battle?
The DREAM Act might fail in a clean, well-publicized up-or-down vote in the Senate. But slipped into a much bigger bill in the dead of night--I'm not so sure.
P.S.: So were Dems only pandering when they raised the DREAM Act during the campaign? Maybe. And maybe they'll be pandering when they try to bring it to a vote. But they might also be pandering when they pass it... 1:37 a.m.
If GM's IPO is such a good deal, why do we need to get Kuwait to buy part of it? ... 2:06 a.m.
Stupidest lawsuit ever? Tough category ... 2:07 a.m.
I'll be debating in Brooklyn on Monday night (tonight)--6:00 to 8:00 at St. Francis College. The topic is whether the Tea Partiers are right to question the role of elites in American politics. Fred Siegel and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky are on the panel. I'll be saying that the Tea Partiers have a point. But you knew that ... 2:38 a.m.