Tags: brooks | cbo | immigration | costs

Rep. Mo Brooks: CBO's Score of Immigration Bill Is Way Off

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 02:45 PM

By Bill Hoffmann and John Bachman

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Rep. Mo Brooks is disputing the Congressional Budget Office's prediction that the Senate immigration reform bill will decrease the federal deficit by $197 billion over the next decade.

"The Congressional Budget Office, bless their hearts, they have a very bad track record on being very good at forecasting actual cost of legislation," the Alabama Republican, told Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.



"An example [is] the Farm Bill/Food Stamp Bill. A decade ago they estimated the cost to be one number. It ended up being hundreds of billions of dollars more . . . I don't think you can rely on [the CBO]."

Brooks cited conservative Heritage Foundation report claiming that legalizing undocumented immigrants would cost taxpayers a whopping $6.3 trillion over the next few decades as more accurate. The report has been criticized by many, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a chief author the immigration reform bill, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

"I have much great confidence in the Heritage report. I've looked at it, I've studied it, I'm very familiar with it. There's no way in the world that the Senate immigration bill, which is basically an amnesty bill, is going to save taxpayers' dollars. No way in the world," Brooks said.

"The opponents of the Heritage report . . . have not been able to successfully discredit the logic and the reason behind it."

Brooks said the numbers in the immigration bill as it now stands are skewered.

"[It's] going to immediately legitimize at least 11 million [undocumented people]," he said.

"That 11 million … is premised on the Census Bureau having satisfactorily identified 90 percent of all illegal aliens who [were] in the U.S. back in 2010. Now does anybody really believe the Census Bureau has the capability of identifying 90 percent of a population that doesn't want to be found by the government?" Brooks continued.

"Yet that is where that 11 million population comes from, so you always have to be mindful of the underlying assumptions that are the premises for the conclusions."

The CBO also states in its report that a short term rise in unemployment will occur when the bill is passed, but Brooks believes it will be far worse.

"The impact on American workers is two-fold. One, you have higher unemployment. It's more difficult to get a job because the competition from illegal aliens," he said.

"And second, because of the large supply of illegal aliens you have [a] suppressing impact on the wages of Americans across the board in the blue collar field . . . The overall effect of this kind of influx is in excess of $1,000 per year in suppressed wages for American workers . . . people who, generally speaking, are barely making it."

Brooks — who represents Alabama's Fifth Congressional District and serves on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Science, Space, and Technology — said support for the bill from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is based on the cheap labor it will supply.

"The United States Chamber of Commerce supports it because their membership wants to hire illegal aliens . . . because they want a larger influx of cheap foreign labor," he said.

"The Chamber of Commerce and its constituents' organizations and companies, those that fund [it] . . . are going to be able to make high profits by hiring foreigners. To the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this is purely profit motive," he added.

Last weekend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, predicted "a demographic death spiral" for the GOP members if they didn't help pass the immigration bill. Brooks chastised the South Carolinian for playing "the race card" on the issue to put political pressure on opponents of the bill.

"Lindsey Graham and others like him are wrong to break this down into race. I don’t believe in race and discrimination. I believe in treating everyone the same," Brooks said.
"I don’t want to pick on Lindsey Graham in particular but I will say this about the proponents, particularly the Democrats in general. They always play the race card. They don’t talk about immigration and the impact on America . . . Rather, they try to break it down into racial issues."

Brooks said the real issue is how many foreigners can the U.S. economy accept at once without a significant adverse impact on Americans already here.

"Let's be clear about something. When it comes to immigration, America is far and away the most compassionate nation in history. We allow 600,000 to 1.1 million foreigners on an annual basis to become American citizens," he said.

"No other country comes close to that . . . We need to bring into America those people who we are comfortable [with and] are going to be net tax reducers, not net tax consumers."

Brooks said he's concerned as well about the approaching deadline for increasing the nation's debt ceiling. That deadline was supposed to be this spring, but an unexpected windfall of tax revenues in April moved it back to October. Now some financial observers say it could be well into next year before another debt crisis develops.

Still, Brooks would like to see Congress pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget to make sure that a crisis doesn't develop at all.

"I will not support a debt ceiling increase unless it addresses the underlying cause of the problem," Brooks told Newsmax.

"We need a balanced budget constitutional amendment that will take care of this issue . . . I will not, under any circumstances, continue to be financially irresponsible as seems to be the path that so many in Washington prefer. That is a dead end path."

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