• Lawmakers uneasy about Smithfield’s acquisition by a Chinese food giant

    Lawmakers last week questioned Smithfield Foods CEO Larry Pope about the proposed acquisition of the pork producer by China’s largest meat producer. Lawmakers are worried that the acquisition will negatively affect U.S food supply and agricultural producers.

  • House GOP caucus grapples with immigration issue

    During a closed-door meeting of the House Republican caucus on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) urged fellow GOP lawmakers to pass an immigration bill. Boehner reiterated his position that no immigration bill will be brought to the House floor without the support of the majority of the House GOP caucus. Participants in the meeting all agreed that they did not trust the Obama administration to enforce either immigration laws or border security provisions.

  • The tax contributions of undocumented immigrants to states and localities

    Opponents of immigration reform argue that undocumented immigrants would be a drain on federal, state, and local government resources if granted legal status under reform. It is also true, however, that the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States are already taxpayers, and that their local, state, and federal tax contributions would increase under reform.

  • House speaker clarifies position on immigration reform

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reported on Monday that improvements in border security must be “in place” before a pathway to immigration is to begin. Boehner will head a special meeting of the House Republican Conference today to debate immigration reform.

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  • Senate panel to investigate DHS IG office

    The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is investigating the Inspector General at DHS on allegations of nepotism, abuse of power, and covering up a Secret Service prostitution scandal.

  • Senate immigration bill could yield billions in federal contracts

    The Senate immigration bill will see billions of dollars go to defense and technology companies as a result of billions of dollars in new and expanded federal contracts aiming to bolster border security.

  • NSA revelations raise doubts about passage of cybersecurity legislation

    U.S. officials say the revelations about the National Security Agency’s(NSA) domestic surveillance programs could make it harder for lawmakers to pass a cybersecurity bill. Critics of the House cybersecurity bill, known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which was passed earlier this year (it is still being debated in the Senate), argued the bill could lead to private information falling into the hands of the NSA.

  • Lawmakers want to ease travel to U.S. as part of immigration legislation

    A bi-partisan group of House lawmakers is working to include a provision in the House immigration legislation which will make it easier to travel to the United States. Travel industry groups support the effort, having fought for years to get the government to relax security measures. The industry has argued that these measures have turned off many foreigners from traveling to the United States.

  • Senate passes historic immigration reform bill

    The Senate yesterday, on a vote of 68-32, approved a sweeping immigration overhaul bill, the most important immigration measure since the 1986 Immigration and Reform Act (IRCA). The measure offers a path to citizenship to about eleven million illegal immigrants currently in the United States and allocates billions of dollars to bolstering border security.

  • Our farblondzhet senators

    The Senate immigration reform bill has been presented as an effort to resolve the many complex problems resulting from the Immigration and Reform Act (IRCA) of 1986. Whether the bill passed by the Senate yesterday will succeed remains to be seen, but what is not in doubt is the fact that the border security provisions in the bill, in the words of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), read “like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton” and other big defense contractors. This is unfortunate, because the U.S.-Mexico border has become a graveyard for a long list of ambitious, technology-heavy – but ultimately ineffective and exceedingly wasteful – programs.

  • House lawmakers disagree on how to move forward on immigration reform

    If the sweeping immigration overhaul bill passes the Senate, as now appears likely, House Republicans may be under intense pressure to move quickly on their own bill, so the versions may go to reconciliation. Members of the House, though, say they are in no rush, leaving the fate of immigration reform in doubt. Some analysts note that twice in recent months, when the House failed to come up with its own version of a bill, it passed the Senate version as-is: In January, the House passed the Senate-White House compromise to avert tax increases, and in February it passed the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act.

  • Immigration bill gains more support

    The immigration reform effort has been gaining  support from Republican Senators — and from a couple of wavering Democrats – over the weekend, following a beefing-up of the bill’s security provisions by an amendment authored by Senators bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota).

  • Questions raised about “border security surge”

    This week the Senate will decide whether to approve the immigration legislation drafted by a bi-partisan group of senators. A border provision in the bill calls for adding $30 billion for additional security measures along the southern border, including hiring 20,000 more border security agents. Not everyone is convinced the boost in funding will lead to significant decline in illegal border crossers.

  • Border security provision deal makes immigration bill more acceptable to skeptical lawmakers

    Senators working on the immigration overhaul bill have reached a tentative deal on a border security amendment to the bill, a deal which likely would persuade more Republican lawmakers to support the measure. One of the authors of the amendment, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), said he hoped it would persuade not only more Senate Republicans to support the bill, but many House Republicans as well. “For people who are concerned about border security, once they see what is in this bill [after his amendment is adopted], it is almost overkill,” he said.

  • Senate immigration bill would reduce deficits by $200 billion over decade: CBO

    A long-awaited report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office offered a major victory for the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators and the draft immigration overhaul they drafted: the detailed report finds that the immigration bill now being debated in the Senate would reduce federal deficits by nearly $200 billion over the next decade even with higher spending on border security and government benefits. The report estimates that over the following decade — from 2024 to 2033 — the deficit reduction would be even greater, reaching an estimated $700 billion.