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Oh, Look – Jeff Sessions Suddenly Cares About The Poor And Unemployed

June 19, 2013
"I don't know. I'll say anything at this point." Jeff Sessions

“I don’t know. I’ll say anything at this point.”

Republicans are not at all happy about the release of a CBO report yesterday showing that immigration reform may just be the pain-free, deficit-reducing, non-tax-raising dream we’ve been looking for. After all, it sort of destroys their argument that undocumented immigrants are moochers looking for a free ride on the taxpayer dime. So, we turn today to more novel arguments.

Witness Tea Party fav Ted Cruz concern trolling about how this immigration bill won’t fix the real problem — which, if we are to believe Ted Cruz today, is all about the humanity and safety of undocumented immigrants themselves.

He stood before a blown-up picture of a graveyard as he solemnly eulogized on behalf of unnamed souls who had been killed crossing the border:

No one who cares about our humanity would want to maintain a system where the border isn’t secure,” Cruz said, noting that ”vulnerable women and children” are being preyed upon by drug dealers and are being “left to die in the desert.”

“This is a system that produces human tragedy,” Cruz continued. “And the most heartbreaking aspect of this gang of eight bill is it will perpetuate this tragedy. It will not fix the problem. It will not secure the borders.” [Greg Sargent – WaPo]

Never mind the billions of dollars already spent annually on border security to which the bill would only add. The Republican party line is that the border will pretty much never be secure enough. It’s all a tad too saccharine and hypocritical to this observer; but it still pales next the gall of Jeff Sessions.

That CBO report showing that the Senate bill will boost the economy? It’s not good enough for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Even if it does help the economy, he says, “the benefit will go to the business owners.” He worries that “the 21 million Americans who can’t find full-time work will have an ever harder time getting a job and supporting their families.” Immigration, he warns, could be “the biggest setback for poor and middle-class Americans of any legislation Congress has considered in decades.” [Ezra Klein – WaPo]

How precious. That’s right, folks, Jeff Sessions is suddenly very worried about making the rich richer at the expense of the poor. The same guy who has repeatedly voted against legislation to promote jobs and assistance to the working and middle class: against extending the Payroll tax cut; against the American Jobs Act; against the Buffet Rule; against extended unemployment benefits; against the Employee Free Choice Act…

Sessions isn’t opposed to everything, though. He voted yes on the Ryan budget, which would have lowered the capital gains tax even as it cut food stamps and Medicaid. He also voted for the Bush tax cuts, which lowered both capital gains and income taxes for wealthy Americans, and the 2005 bankruptcy bill, which made it harder for low-income Americans to wipe their debts clean. He’s also voted in favor of a slew of balanced-budget amendments which would have required deep cuts in social spending. His budget speeches recite a bunch of policies that will directly benefit the rich, like corporate tax reform, with nothing to directly help the poor.


What doesn’t appear to interest Sessions are the policies that follow from the economic theories he’s wielding against immigration reform. His record shows no consistent opposition to bills that primarily benefit business owners or the wealthy, or that empower labor to wrest more economic gains from capital. It shows no sustained interest in the fortunes of the least fortunate. And Sessions has rejected policies that would help the unemployed get work and fought policies that would ease the pain of unemployment. [Ezra Klein – WaPo]

So it’s little surprise that no one is actually buying this new line of political cover for killing immigration reform. Remember how it used to seem almost impossible for comprehensive immigration reform to become a reality? And then remember the 2012 election and how after that it looked like maybe it would be possible? Well, the GOP did some soul-searching. And for all the talk about how the GOP needs to recognize the demographic shift and reach out with policies that appeal to a growing Hispanic population, at its core the GOP is just not ready.

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