We now have seen the ROPE swing into action and show its style. The implications for immigration policy are, frankly, terrifying.
R-O-P-E is the Reid-Obama-Pelosi-Emanuel power bloc that called the shots on much of the Stimulus Bill with very little say from anybody else in the end. ROPE decided that illegal aliens would be welcomed to Stimulus jobs and made sure that the 533 Members of Congress never got a chance to truly weigh in -- or be held accountable.
- Majority Power in the 1980s
I remember being a congressional correspondent during the 1980s after Democrats had controlled the U.S. House of Representatives for three decades. The abuse of power was pretty incredible. The Republican Members were allowed only tiny amounts of influence as the Democratic leadership allowed it.
- Majority Power in the 1990s
Republicans took control of the House in the 1994 elections, partly by promising the American people that they would allow everybody's Representative to have some influence. The Republicans promised to run the House in a manner fair to everybody.
But within a few years, Republicans began imitating the abuse they had campaigned against. There are differences of opinion on the matter, but I believe that near the end of their reign in the House, the Republicans were more abusive of their power than the Democrats had been.
- Majority Power in 2008
Now the Democrats have taken back control, partly by promising the American people that they would end the abuses of the Republicans and restore fairness to the proceedings of the House so that every Congressional District's representative would have a chance to have influence.
HOW R-O-P-E MAY STRANGLE US
If the last two weeks are any indication, I think we will have to say that the ROPE team is the most dictatorial of all.
If the ROPE team is going to try to rule with a disciplined near-unanimity of its own Party, the American people are going to have almost no chance to improve our immigration policies and a very scary chance of a giant amnesty passing later this year.
Here is what the ROPE showed us in stripping the Stimulus Bill of E-Verify positions:
- When the idea first came up of using E-Verify to keep illegal aliens out of the Stimulus jobs, ROPE realized that to oppose it in the House Appropriations Committee would look bad in public. So, ROPE allowed the restriction to go into the House bill on a voice vote, promising their open-borders friends that they would get it out in the Conference negotiating committee.
- If the Senate had passed the same E-Verify provision, it might have been very difficult for the Conference committee to get rid of it. I don't think there was any way that 41% of Senators would have openly voted to allow illegal aliens to get Stimulus jobs. So, ROPE refused to allow Senators to vote on the E-Verify amendment.
- Despite talk of making the Conference negotiations transparent and open to the public, ROPE knew that if citizens saw the 10 Conference negotiators turning down E-Verify there would be a backlash. So, ROPE decided the shape of the final Stimulus Bill behind closed doors, just among themselves and presented the whole thing as a take-or-leave-it proposition to the Conference committee. Since ROPE had removed E-Verify in secret, the public had no chance to see what each of the negotiators might have done if they had made the decision themselves.
- In the end, the Stimulus Bill was passed so that illegal aliens have the same access to Stimulus jobs as they do to all other jobs now -- which is pretty open access. But except for the four members of the ROPE team, no other Member of Congress can easily be held accountable for passing such a huge pro-illegal-immigration bill.
As you can see, this process is meant to minimize the ability of individual citizens to hold anybody accountable and to exercise any influence.
WHAT CONSTITUTES FAIRNESS?
Perhaps the two most important things that a majority Party can provide to ensure that individual Americans have a chance for a voice in the proceedings of Congress are these:
- the ability of all Members to offer amendments
- public recording of roll call votes
It was the lack of these two opportunities time after time under the previous Republican regime that enraged Democrats who eventually were able to convince the public of the wrongness of that kind of power stranglehold. Every American's representative in Congress ought to have the chance to offer amendments. Even if those amendments are killed in a public vote, citizens backing the amendments can feel their voice was at least heard and they can know which Members agree or disagree.
Especially in the handling of E-Verify the last two weeks, the ROPE regime has shown an ugly hand in denying immigration amendments or public votes.
All of us will have to do all we can to expose this hand for its anti-democratic meaning and cause ROPE to believe that continuing the stranglehold may be counter-productive. Otherwise, we can expect the passage of amnesty for 12-20 million illegal aliens this fall.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Feb 23rd 2009 @ 12:19pm EST