Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been pointing to a quirk of the Gang of Eight immigration bill that provides employers with a sizable cash incentive to hire legalized aliens instead of American citizens, because the legalized aliens are not subject to ObamaCare mandates.
“I filed an amendment that would have corrected one of the most egregious aspects of the Gang of Eight bill as it intersects with Obamacare legislation, namely a penalty imposed on U.S. employers for hiring U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents,” Cruz explained from the Senate floor. “This bill says if an employer hires a citizen or a legal immigrant, the IRS can impose a $5,000 penalty on that employer. But if the employer instead hires someone with RPI [Registered Provisional Immigrant] status, that penalty will go away. That is utterly and completely indefensible.”
“Nobody in this body wants to see African-American unemployment go up,” he continued. “Nobody wants to see Hispanic unemployment go up, youth unemployment go up, union household unemployment go up, legal immigrant unemployment go up. Yet every one of those will happen if this Gang of Eight bill passes without fixing this problem. If that happens, all 100 members of the U.S. Senate will be accountable to our constituents for explaining why we voted to put a federal penalty on hiring U.S. citizens and hiring legal immigrants. I hope this body will choose to pass my amendment and fix this grave defect in the Gang of Eight legislation.”
His full 27-minute speech to the Senate appears below:
Cruz already weathered a few hilariously botched attempts to “fact-check” his claim into oblivion, which ended with the “fact checkers” admitting he was right about the problem, but questioning whether employers would respond to this incentive on the scale he envisions. (That, of course, is a difference of opinion, not a fact check.)
For added fun, the Weekly Standard collared five of the Democrat senators who voted to cut off debate on the immigration bill, and asked for their take on the problem Cruz describes. None of them knew if the loophole had been addressed yet. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) babbled something incoherent that had nothing to do with the question; Tom Carper (D-DE) snarled that he was too busy to answer the question; and Max “Train Wreck” Baucus, the author of ObamaCare, mumbled: “We’re trying to solve that right now… I don’t know if that’s been solved.”
But clearly there’s no reason for anyone to read this heavily revamped Gang of Eight bill before voting on it, or debate its provisions any further!