Immigrants contribute more in to Medicare than they take out, and the Gang of 8 immigration bill would help keep Social Security afloat. But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), immigration reform opponent extraordinaire, is still obsessed with finding a way—any way—to prove that immigrants are a drain on society.
Sometime in the next few weeks, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will score the Senate immigration bill and its projected costs/benefits over the next decade. The Gang of 8 expects CBO will report that the legislation pays for itself and does not add to the deficit.
That information would be a boon to supporters of the bill but, of course, it throws another wrench into Sessions’ obsessive efforts to stop it. So the 10-year timeline that they’re planning to score–the usual standard for CBO–isn’t good enough for Sessions. He claims it will not adequately reflect the costs of reform. As he wrote in a letter to CBO Director Doug Elmendorf:
It is crucial that your fiscal and economic projections extend well beyond the current 10-year budget window…
Given the long time period over which the key elements of this bill are implemented, I cannot imagine a circumstance in which a 10-year scoring of S. 744 would be deemed adequate for guiding the policy decisions that Congress will confront.
Sessions has made it clear that he’s willing to do anything to stop immigration reform from moving forward. In the Senate markup which ended last week, he suggested amendment after amendment designed to stall and cripple immigration reform. And Sessions has been desperately trying to find an economic vehicle that makes his case. He was hoping to rely on the deeply flawed Heritage Report, co-authored by Jason Richwine of “no one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites” infamy. Instead, Heritage was a huge flop and deeply damaged the opposition.
Now Sessions is feigning concern that incoming immigrant workers will replace lower-skilled workers. Except, oh wait, Sessions doesn’t care about lower-skilled workers and has a terrible record of advocating for their interests. As Markos at Daily Kos wrote in a post this week:
Egads! Jeff Sessions is so concerned about lower-skilled workers and their stagnant wages! But I’m confused, since he’s the same guy trying to cut food stamps even though they cover 61 percent of Alabama households with children. This is also the same Jeff Sessions who opposes a rise in the minimum wage…
He may use populist rhetoric to mask his xenophobia, but his actions paint him as yet another typical Republican [kleptocrat].
What will Sessions stoop to next?