June 22, 2006

In response to House Republicans’ plan to conduct hearings on the Senate’s immigration bill this summer, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced yesterday that his committee would conduct summer hearings of its own to defend the Senate’s comprehensive approach over the enforcement-only approach advanced by the House.  The Republican vs. Republican move adds to the unusual sequence of events that the upcoming elections have created:  a Congressional historian has noted that to his knowledge Congress has never before called for pre-conference hearings on legislation that has already been passed.  That historical information, along with Representative Jim Kolbe’s (R-AZ) statement that the House would pass comprehensive legislation he has introduced if the Republican leadership would allow his legislation to go to the floor for a vote, further supports my conclusion that the Republican leadership in the House has hijacked the immigration issue for election purposes.