Conservative Activists Show Support for Immigration Reform

Many hold the common misconception that conservatives and Republicans oppose immigration reform, but on Wednesday a number of conservative activists held a public conference call to discuss their support for changing American policy. Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, which asks candidates to sign its famed “no new taxes” pledge, led a call which included Sal Russo, a co-founder of Tea Party Express, and Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union. They urged the House to produce immigration reform legislation and criticized the President’s threats to use Executive actions to rework Federal policies. Also on Wednesday, Americans for Tax Reform, the Tea Party Express, and the Partnership for a New American Economy released a report on Tea Partiers’ views on immigration reform. Approximately 71 percent of respondents said it was important that Congress act on the issue this year. Over 84 percent agreed with the statement, “It’s better to have a deal between the President and Congress that fixes the system, secures the border and restores the rule of law”. Only 7.2 percent said they preferred “the current system”.

Roll Call: Immigration Overhaul Backed by Growing Number of Tea Partiers (Video)

Renew Our Economy: McLaughlin & Associates National Survey of Tea Party Sympathizers

Senate Democrats Unsure About President’s Judicial Nominee

The Senate Democrats and the President try to work in concert as much as possible, but the lawmakers might blackball one of his judicial nominees. Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to assess Judge Michael Boggs for the Federal bench in Georgia, but Democrats were concerned about his views on abortion, gay marriage, and his vote to keep the Confederate flag as part of the Georgia state flag. Some have note decided whether to vote in favor of advancing his nomination. For instance, according to National Journal, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Rhode Island said, “I have serious concerns about some of the actions and statements he has sought to disavow or disclaim”. He said he was still reviewing the judge’s record. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated his is not yet satisfied with Boggs, and he has not said whether he would bring the nomination up for a vote, if the Committee advances it. The Obama Administration has reiterated its support for the nominee despite the Senate Democrats’ dubious response.

National Journal: Why an Obama Judicial Pick Could Go Down in the Democratic-Controlled Senate

Tax-Extender Legislation May Advance With or Without Amendments

By tradition, the Senate allows its Members to offer unlimited amendments to bills, which is an important way minority Senators can influence the process. However, in recent years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has frequently locked down on the process, refusing to let Republicans offer amendments. In retaliation, the GOP often objects to advancing the bills. For example, this happened recently to an energy efficiency bill. However, the Senate has been working on a bill extending a variety of tax breaks, and the Republicans might agree to advance it even if Senator Reid opposes amendments. Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, conceded that it wasn’t a sure bet that the Republicans would advance the bill but also said, “I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that it’s gonna turn out the same way that the energy [efficiency] cloture vote did.” The bill contains a number of popular provisions, and some conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform support it.

National Journal: Republicans Might Let Tax-Extenders Bill Move Forward

Examining Support for Democratic Party Across South

The American South has become a strong base of support for the Republican Party at the Federal level, but once you shift to the state level, the picture varies from place to place. Washington Post writer Aaron Blake tried to measure the relative support for Democrats at the state level by compiling what he calls the “Democratic Tradition Score”. To calculate the score, he factored in party identification and whether the Democrats controlled a state’s U.S. Senate seats, governor’s mansion, and legislature. He also compared it to the percentage of people who supported President Obama in the last election—and the results might surprise some. For instance, among Southern states, the President had one of his best showings in South Carolina, but it had the fourth lowest Democratic Tradition Score. “The takeaway: Not all red Southern states are created equal. Some of them have been significantly more hesitant to hand their state legislatures, congressional and statewide offices to Republicans — even as they vote just as Republican (or more) in presidential races”, Blake writes.

Washington Post: When It Comes to Democratic Extinction, Not All Southern States Are Equal

And for our latest post: Using the “Pen and Phone” to Blur the Separation of Powers