Back in November, Democratic representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina introduced H.R. 4008, known as the SAVE Act, in the House. It's not a wall along the entire US-Mexico border, but it's pretty heavy on the enforcement side:
- Mandatory participation in the E-Verify employment verification program
- A couple thousand more Border Patrol agents (to be preferrentially selected from the ranks of those with prior military service) per year for several years going forward
- New personnel to be hired specifically for the purpose of investigating illegal alien smuggling
- Authorization of the use of drones, sensors, infrared cameras, physical barriers, and the like to assist in maintaining border integrity
- Mandates for greater cooperation between federal and local law enforcement on the immigration front
- Authorization of rewards of up to $100,000 to citizens who provide information leading to the capture of illegal aliens and/or those aiding them
The Democratic leadership in the House has been in no hurry to get the legislation through the various committees (eight of them) it must go through prior to finding its way to the chamber floor, even though it now has 147 other co-sponsors. So Shuler is attempting to force it the floor by garnering 217 signatures for a "discharge petition". Thus far, he has 181 of them.
Of those 181 signatories, only nine are Democrats (six of those nine are rookie Democrats, by the way). Why such a paltry number when 49 of the resoultion's co-sponsors are Democrats? The Democratic House leadership wants the thing dead:
Shuler said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership were not pleased with his attempts to get the bill to the House floor.
"They said (the bill) was not the proper thing for our caucus," Shuler said.
But he said the SAVE Act is "not about Democrats. Not about Republicans. It's about what is best for America."
Shuler said he went to Washington to solve problems and was not willing to go along with the leadership in his party. "You can't be scared in Washington," Shuler said. "You have to do what is right."
Shuler said he understands party leadership and that the party system has a role. But he said partisanship and the struggle for power get in the way of solving problems.
Even though I've been a Cowboys' fan since elementary school, I'd vote for a Shuler Presidency long before I'd vote for any of the three remaining Presidential contenders.
Shuler also accuses someone on the other side of the aisle of interference:
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler says he believes Republican presidential candidate John McCain blocked his immigration bill from getting a vote on the U.S. House floor. McCain's staff denies it. ...There isn't much else out there about the accusation at this point, so it's not fair to say it's been substantiated. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be true, though.
"It was going great until McCain blocked it," Shuler said.
McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, called Republicans in Congress and asked them not to sign the petition, Shuler said. He said after McCain's intervention, Republicans in the House were less willing to sign onto the bill.
If McCain hasn't exerted such pressure, there's no compelling reason for him to say anything more about the charge. But if he wants to assuage a very skeptical 'conservative base', he'd do well to take the opportunity to publicly encourage members of both parties in the House to give the legislation a hearing on the floor. Heh, fat chance of that happening!
The leadership in both parties are opposed to any restrictionist legislation. Results have to come from the ground up. That means action at the state level and in the House. Here's a record (second list) of representatives who've signed Shuler's petition thus far. If your rep isn't among them, let him know you'd like him to be. Again, it's H.R. 4008 (the SAVE Act) that is at issue.