Morning Action: Senate Inches Closer to Amnesty

IMMIGRATION.  The Senate voted yesterday on the motion to proceed to the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill.  The motion was agreed to by a vote of 84 to 15.  Now the Senate will engage in several weeks of deliberation (if you can call it that) before final votes, which are expected before the July Fourth recess.  Roll Call notes:

But the road to final passage is not clear, even if the bill’s backers are confident about their chances. Republicans are pushing for stronger border control provisions while senators from both sides of the aisle mull introducing amendments that are either non-germane to the bill or could disrupt the delicate political coalition championing the legislation — from expanding the bill to include better protections for gay immigrants to gun control provisions to a series of amendments that would weaken the core of the bill from Republican senators who have little intention to vote for a final package.

Heritage reminds us:

The danger of putting too many things in one bill is that you end up having to pass it to see what’s in it. But we know one thing: Amnesty for illegal immigrants is the first order of business.

We’ve tried it before, and it didn’t work. This is the wrong way to address a serious issue with trillions in taxpayer dollars at stake.

BUDGET.  The White House has begun “closed-door” budget talks with Senate Republicans in hopes of coming to some form of agreement over raising the national debt ceiling later this year.  They are attempting to reconcile significant ideological differences on the need to cut spending:

Much of the meeting was spent sparring over the severity of the federal deficit and the need to cut spending. 

Obama reached out to Republican senators earlier this year in the hopes of forging a broad deficit-reduction deal, but Republicans in recent weeks have expressed frustration over the pace of the talks. 

“The intensity is not where it needs to be right now,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) as he walked into the meeting in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  

Other Republicans who attended include Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Johnny Isakson, (Ga.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and John Thune (S.D.). 

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the White House budget director, and deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors and White House Legislative Affairs Director Miguel Rodriguez also attended. 

McDonough called it a “good conversation.”

But some Republicans were less than enthusiastic about the prospects for a deal after spending much of the meeting arguing with White House officials. 

A source familiar with the meeting said most of it was spent debating just how bad the nation’s budget picture looks. 

IRS.  Heritage has produced a video of yet another group targeted by the IRS; in this case, the founder and president of the group believes it was due to her involvement in conservative Hispanic media:

VOCES Action received “special” attention from the IRS when it submitted its 501(c)4 application. But why? The non-profit doesn’t mention “tea party” or “patriot” in its mission statement and stays away from “political” endorsements.

Adryana Boyne, VOCES Action founder and president, believes the group was targeted because of her personal involvement in the conservative Hispanic media. VOCES stands for Voices Offering Conservative Empowering Solutions and is a national organization based in Dallas, Texas.

Boyne’s regular appearances on television and keynote speeches at tea-party rallies have made her a national conservative leader in the Latino community.

OBAMA.  Although they elected him twice, a majority of Iowans disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, from how he is dealing with the economy to how he’s dealing with the recent string of scandals within his administration:

With President Barack Obama facing several recent controversies, 54 percent of Iowans disapprove of the job he’s doing — his worst rating in the state during his time in office, a Des Moines Register poll shows. A strong majority of respondents said the Benghazi, IRS and DOJ targeting of media controversies are a concern. (The poll was conducted before the recent National Security Agency surveillance program revelations.)

A majority also don’t like Obama’s strategies for dealing with the deficit or the economy, and 57 percent disapprove of the way he gets along with Congress.

Obama’s approval rating in Iowa has been steadily declining, from 51 percent in the fall to 49 percent in February. Today’s poll showed a sharp 8 percentage point drop, down to a 41 percent approval rating.

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