Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Democrats Introducing Legislation Granting Amnesty
Democrats have renewed their demand to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Of course, this is not the first attempt that Democrats have made to cozy up to immigrant groups in order to guarantee their votes.
The Clinton administration had been accused of easing standards for becoming a U.S. citizen, allowing millions of foreigners to be able to vote in the 2000 elections.
Also, Democrats stepped up efforts to register individuals to vote when they applied for a U.S. driver's license -- the so-called "Motor Voter" law -- without having to provide proof of citizenship.
President Clinton sought amnesty last year but Republicans bucked. When Republicans refused to include amnesty in a spending bill, Democrats blocked final passage of the measure for weeks before finally relenting.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced legislation on Feb. 7 that would grant legal status to aliens living here illegally.
"Some will say this is a bill whose time has not yet come," Gutierrez said during a news conference. "I think the opposite is true, this bill is long overdue." The legislation would grant amnesty to those "who have shown a true commitment to this country and are likely to make a considerable contribution to this country," he said.
Critics point out that aliens consume much more social services in the form of welfare, food stamps and health and education benefits than citizens and are involved in a disproportionate amount of crimes.
The legislation will also eliminate a ban on re-entry into the United States by deported aliens and give permanent visas to spouses and children of legal immigrants.
The Bush administration has not disclosed its position on the amnesty issue. But it will be the main topic, along with "open borders," when the president travels to Mexico to meet with President Vicente Fox Feb. 16.
The amnesty proposal is opposed by Rep. George Gekas (R-Pa.), chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on immigration and claims, a spokesman said.
"Congress does not want to increase illegal immigrants by granting amnesty and we don't want to smack legal residents in the face for playing by the rules," said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.).
Contact your congressman as soon as possible and tell him to reject this legislation.
TAX CUTS FOR ALL
President Bush is standing firmly behind his across-the-board tax cuts, bucking Democrat demands that the reductions be more modest and "targeted."
Anticipating the usual cliches about "tax cuts for the rich," Bush introduced the Paul Peterson family of four. Total family income was $36,675. In 1999, the Petersons paid $1,055 in income taxes. Under the Bush plan, they would pay no taxes. A family of three with a two-earner household income of $73,850 paid $9,506 in 1999 and would enjoy a 23 percent reduction to $7,325. A family of three with a total income of $138,667 paid $24,237 in 1999 but would enjoy a 13 percent reduction to $20,970.
IMPEACH CLINTON AGAIN?
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said he believes it is constitutionally possible to again impeach President Clinton even though he has left office. He is taken seriously as a lawyer, former prosecutor and member of the Judiciary Committee.
Specter said if convicted by the Senate for late-term crimes, Clinton could lose his pension, office and staff allowance and Secret Service protection.
Specter did not explain his reasoning and the Constitution appears to preclude such action. It says: "Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States." The "shall not" seems to leave no room to wiggle. The Constitution, however, expressly says a president remains criminally and civilly liable.
BEWARE PATIENT 'RIGHTS'
There are two problems with the so-called "Patients' Bill of Rights" that's being kicked around Congress in varied form: the 10th Amendment and the fact that, as written, it would cause millions of workers to lose employer-paid health insurance.
No lawmaker has yet stood up and explained how, under the limited powers the Constitution grants the federal government, national laws can be passed that would tell a businessman or health organization what pills to prescribe. Perhaps the commerce clause granting Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce prevails, since most insurers are multi-state operations.
Since Liberty Lobby introduced the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights in 1977 and it became law in 1989, used-car dealers have advertised the "drivers' bill of rights" and lawmakers have kicked around various "bills of rights."
The great harm in most variations of the "Patients' Bill of Rights" is the provision that a worker can sue his insurer if he feels he was denied necessary care. Vote-hungry politicians trade on the fact that most of their constituents are not in the insurance business and cling to the "right to sue" provision. It sounds good but there can be caveats.
A patient can now and could still sue his physician, hospital and other providers for malpractice. In fact, Florida lacks obstetricians today because so many have abandoned the specialty and withdrawn to general practice because of skyrocketing liability premiums due to frivolous suits brought by Medicaid patients.
The problem with the right to sue the health maintenance organization is that it would put employers at risk and prompt them to abandon health insurance coverage for their workers. Under present proposals, if an employer is involved in the slightest way with HMO decisions, he is also liable as a defendant in potential lawsuits.
For example, a man operates a small retail store with five employees, all over 50 years old. Together, they decide to choose a plan that offers no maternity benefits and reduce premium costs, since all are beyond child-bearing years. But the business owner later learns that he could be liable in a lawsuit against the HMO because he was "involved in decision making."
Rather than accept a potential liability that could destroy his business, the owner cancels health insurance.
This scenario has been offered by platoons of businessmen and economists for the last two years as various "patients' rights" bills have been considered at hearings. Collectively, small businessmen are the nation's biggest private-sector employer. As thousands of small businesses abandon employee insurance programs, the ranks of the uninsured will grow by millions.
If Congress must pass such legislation, it is critical to root out the nice-sounding "right to sue" provision.