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House conservatives blast Senate bill, fear loss in November

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  • Greg Cannon
    Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and others said Republicans would pay a price in the midterm elections if they vote for anything like the Senate legislation.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2006
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      Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and others said
      Republicans would pay a price in the midterm elections
      if they vote for anything like the Senate legislation.
      "Many of those who have stood for the Republican Party
      for the last decade are not only angry. They will be
      absent in November," he said.

      http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IMMIGRATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-03-30-11-27-10

      House Conservatives Blast Immigration Bill

      By DAVID ESPO
      AP Special Correspondent

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- House conservatives criticized
      President Bush, accused the Senate of fouling the air,
      said prisoners rather than illegal farm workers should
      pick America's crops and denounced the use of Mexican
      flags by protesters Thursday in a vehement attack on
      legislation to liberalize U.S. immigration laws.

      "I say let the prisoners pick the fruits," said Rep.
      Dana Rohrabacher of California, one of more than a
      dozen Republicans who took turns condemning a Senate
      bill that offers an estimated 11 million illegal
      immigrants an opportunity for citizenship.

      "Anybody that votes for an amnesty bill deserves to be
      branded with a scarlet letter A," said Rep. Steve King
      of Iowa, referring to a guest worker provision in the
      Senate measure.

      Their news conference took place across the Capitol
      from the Senate, where supporters and critics of the
      legislation seemed determined to heed admonitions from
      both Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to
      conduct a dignified, civilized debate.

      The House has passed legislation to tighten border
      security, while the Senate approach also includes
      provisions to regulate the flow of temporary workers
      into the country and control the legal fate of
      millions of illegal immigrants already here. Bush has
      broadly endorsed the Senate approach, saying he wants
      a comprehensive bill.

      It was the second day in a row that congressional
      Republicans aired their differences on an issue that
      directly affects the fastest growing segment of the
      electorate. Under Bush's leadership, the Republicans
      have made dramatic inroads among Hispanic voters, and
      party strategists fret that the immigration debate
      could jeopardize their gains.

      On Wednesday, leading GOP senators disagreed whether
      the legislation amounted to amnesty.

      There was no such debate at the news conference in the
      House, where not a word was spoken in defense of the
      Senate bill and even Bush was not spared criticism.

      "I don't think he's concerned about alienating voters,
      he's not running for re-election," said Rep. Tom
      Tancredo of Colorado. He said Republicans could lose
      the House and Senate over the immigration issue, and
      he said of the president: "I wish he'd think about the
      party and of course I also wish he'd think about the
      country."

      Referring to a wave of demonstrations in recent weeks,
      Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia said, "I say if you are
      here illegally and want to fly the Mexican flag, go to
      Mexico and wave the American flag."

      King analyzed the issue in class terms.

      "The elite class in America is becoming a ruling class
      and they've made enough money by hiring cheap illegal
      labor that they think they also have some kind of a
      right to cheap servants to manicure their nails and
      their lawn, for example.

      "So this ruling class, this new ruling class of
      America, is expanding a servant class in America at
      the expense of the middle class of America, the blue
      collar of America that used to be able to punch a time
      clock, buy a modest house and raise their families.
      ... Those young people are cut out of this process."

      Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and others said
      Republicans would pay a price in the midterm elections
      if they vote for anything like the Senate legislation.
      "Many of those who have stood for the Republican Party
      for the last decade are not only angry. They will be
      absent in November," he said.

      Rohrabacher said Americans should be able to "smell
      the foul odor that's coming out of the U.S. Senate."

      Asked a few moments later whether the same odor was
      emanating from the president, he said, "I have no
      comment."

      Rohrabacher, King and others stood at a podium
      decorated with a bumper sticker reading "Say No to
      Amnesty," as the Senate slogged through a second
      suspenseless day of debate.

      The only vote of the day came on a proposal by Frist
      for a study of the number and causes of deaths at the
      U.S.-Mexico border. It passed 94-0.

      The more difficult choices lie ahead next week, when
      critics of the bill are expected to try to strip out
      the guest worker provision and roll back the
      provisions relating to 11 million illegal immigrants
      already here.

      Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the chairman of the
      Judiciary Committee, has said repeatedly he hopes to
      find a compromise that is more broadly acceptable than
      the legislation that cleared his committee over the
      objections of six Republicans.

      "There's a movement afoot to find consensus," said
      Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who voted for the bill
      that cleared committee.

      He said the president's statements "have been hugely helpful."
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