While fireworks were publicly set off by House Judiciary and Oversight committee members and embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok, a drama of another sort, a quiet game of political poker, was being played out in another area of the Capitol building.
Democrats calling to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, got their bluff called Thursday. When push came to shove, it was all bluster on their part.
When democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a decisive primary victory over powerful establishment Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley in New York last month, partially on an “abolish ICE” campaign, Democrats began falling all over themselves to “out-liberal” one another.
The far-left Vox proclaimed, “Maybe Democrats should stop being afraid of the left,” and lawmakers began taking that advice to heart.
The “abolish ICE” mantra was even embedded in the vocabulary of Senate Democrats reportedly eying a 2020 presidential run — Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris on the other coast, California.
Finally, talk became action. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat and leader of the House Progressive Caucus, introduced legislation Thursday that would give Congress a year to develop a more "humane immigration enforcement system" and get rid of ICE once and for all.
Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Adriano Espaillat of New York co-sponsored the bill with Pocan.
The move came despite some Democrats not being on board with the effort.
"Look, ICE does some functions that are very much needed,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters. “Reform ICE? Yes. That's what I think we should do. It needs reform."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, also of Wisconsin, told reporters that the proposal was "the craziest position" he’d ever seen and that House Democrats "have really jumped the sharks."
Now House Republicans are calling their bluff. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is reportedly going to bring the measure up to the floor for a vote. The idea was advanced by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and other GOP leaders were on board.
House Democrats suddenly got cold feet and began back-pedaling.
“We know Speaker Ryan is not serious about passing our ‘Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act,’ so members of Congress, advocacy groups, and impacted communities will not engage in this political stunt,” Pocan, Jayapal, and Espaillat said in a joint statement.
“If Speaker Ryan puts our bill on the floor, we plan to vote no and will instead use the opportunity to force an urgently needed and long-overdue conversation on the House floor.”
They “plan to vote no” on their own legislation? The “political stunt,” if anything, is of their own making — not one of the Republican leadership.
So why did they introduce a bill they weren’t serious about in the first place?
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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