On Thursday, the Washington Times published a front page, above the fold story about how Republican Congressional leadership has shamefully blocked the Legal Workforce Act that mandates E-Verify from coming to the House floor for a full vote. [E-Verify Group to Pressure Boehner with Ads, By Steven Dinan, Washington Times, March 8, 2012]
Reporter Steven Dinan featured Numbers USA’s executive director Roy Beck and the organization’s new nationwide ad (see it here) scheduled to run in key markets. The ad’s purpose is to bring attention to the craven effort by House Speaker John Boehner to indefinitely stall on E-Verify because Republican consultants advised him that the measure will turn off Hispanic voters in November.
The Times story set off a barrage of phone calls to Boehner’s office as well as calls to Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Whip Kevin McCarthy.
Even though Congressional Republicans like Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy read the conservative Times more attentively than they do the rival and more liberal Washington Post, they were ill-prepared for the criticism that came their way.
In a lame effort to defend their disgraceful behavior, Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy responded with finger pointing accompanied by disingenuous and often flat out inaccurate statements.
Boehner, through his spokesman, repeatedly swore that he supports E-Verify but that the Legal Workforce Act is hung up in committee.
Michael Steel, speaking to the Times on behalf of Boehner, blamed the legislative process for the bill's delay and said:
"Speaker Boehner has supported legislation with E-Verify in the past, and the issue is currently working its way through the committee process."
This is totally false and perhaps intentionally misleading. The bill passed committee in September, six months ago. McCarthy’s office issued similar disclaimers that pledged his E-Verify support but lamenting that, alas, the bill is stuck in the legislative process. Like Boehner, McCarthy is completely off base.
After a day of hectic day of activists phoning Congressional offices as well as Congressional aides urging NumbersUSA to cease and desist on telephone campaign, Beck summarized the story’s impact:
“We were pleased to hear that this story circulated quickly around House Republican circles today, ensuring that the people who have the ability to move Speaker Boehner (Republican Representatives) know that a grassroots citizen campaign is underway. Each of them has a choice of standing with unemployed Americans and mandatory E-Verify or standing with those who want to stop H.R. 2885 (the Legal Workforce Act) and keep 7 million illegal aliens in their U.S. jobs.
“Our hope is that rank-and-file Republicans who overwhelmingly support H.R. 2885 will stop cowering in fear of the House GOP leadership and band together and demand a vote.”
If it’s true that Republicans have blocked the Legal Workforce Act to curry favor with Hispanic voters, then that’s beyond their typically craven behavior even for career, entrenched Washington D.C. politicians. The Legal Workforce Act would open up millions of job opportunities for many of the 20 million unemployed or underemployed Americans. Aliens currently hold as many as seven million of those jobs.