by Newt Gingrich
No one should be surprised that conservatives are not supporting the U.S. Senate’s supposedly bipartisan border bill.
Every time Republicans reach out to Democrats to write a bipartisan bill, they inevitably sell out conservative values and accept liberal poison pills to get Democrats’ votes.
When Republicans give up their principles in the name of bipartisanship, it is a disaster for conservatism, enrages the base, and splits the Republican Party.
This was the model of so-called bipartisan outreach which led President George H.W. Bush to break his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge.
It was the same model of bipartisanship which led President George W. Bush to begin his first term working with Sen. Edward Kennedy on No Child Left Behind, a supposedly bipartisan education bill. It only benefited the Teachers’ Union and leftwing bureaucrats – and was a disaster for American students.
The same brand of bipartisanship is leading Sen. Mitt Romney to propose a fiscal commission on the national debt (which Democrats openly state must include tax increases which the American people deeply oppose).
Marc Thiessen captured the insanity to which this passion for bipartisanship leads in the Washington Post:
“This much is certain about the border agreement being negotiated by Senate Republicans and the Biden administration: There is no excuse for a weak deal. The border crisis could cost Democrats this year’s election and put Donald Trump in the White House — and Democrats know it. That means Republicans have all the leverage in these negotiations. So, any deal that Republicans reach needs to force Biden to take steps that will cause some in his party to balk — if Biden won’t do these things, it will be clear that he doesn’t want to stop illegal immigration. He only wants to stop Trump from entering the Oval Office again.”
Speaking specifically to the bipartisan border deal being discussed in the U.S. Senate, Andrew McCarthy put things even more bluntly in the National Review. Citing Fox News’ Bill Melugin’s analysis of the bill, McCarthy said the parts of the bill Republican senators are touting are “disingenuous and, ultimately, counterproductive.”
“That is to say, the good in the bipartisan Senate negotiators’ proposal — and there definitely is some — (a) can already be accomplished under current law, and (b) would require faith that the Biden administration will for some reason enforce these provisions even though it has systematically refused to enforce existing border-security provisions. More important, to get the illusory good in the proposal, Congress would have to enact provisions in the deal that would both undermine existing statutory restrictions and etch into our law magnets for illegal immigration.”
There is a clear alternative to seeking an alliance with the Democrats. It is to seek an alliance with the American people. It is why President Abraham Lincoln said, with public sentiment anything is possible. Without public sentiment nothing is possible.
President Ronald Reagan understood this principle, too. He would often say to us, “my job is to shine the light on the American people, so they will turn up the heat on Congress.” In his farewell address, he said “I’ve had my share of victories in the Congress, but what few people noticed is that I never won anything you didn’t win for me. They never saw my troops, they never saw Reagan’s regiments, the American people. You won every battle with every call you made and letter you wrote demanding action.”
We stood on President Reagan’s shoulders with the Contract with America in 1994. We realized that you can achieve bipartisanship – from the ground up. Every item in the Contract was overwhelmingly popular with the American people. When we passed welfare reform, half the Democrats voted with us, because it was so popular back home they had no choice.
Recent America’s New Majority Polls make clear the kind of border security bill the American people support. Two-in-three support the provisions in the Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R. 2). Further, three-in-four Americans want the government to prioritize stopping illegal immigration before addressing the status of current illegal immigrants. This includes 89% of Republicans, 75% of independents and 60% of Democrats. You would think numbers this massive would help define an American citizen-based bipartisanship.
Americans by 2:1 favor simplifying the laws for deporting illegal immigrants back to their home countries. This includes 88% of Republicans and 67% of independents. Among minorities it includes 75% of Asian Americans, 52% of Latino Americans, and 48% of African Americans.
If you just started with these two principles, you could write an immigration and border control bill that would have overwhelming popular support.
The more the American people learn about the U.S. Senate’s supposedly bipartisan bill, which should be called the Illegal Immigration Support Act, the more they will oppose it – and question the common sense of the people who wrote it.
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For more commentary from Newt Gingrich, visit Gingrich360.com. Also, subscribe to the Newt’s World podcast.