Republicans in the House held a day-long rally in front of the Capitol on Wednesday to proclaim their opposition to immigration reform. During the rally, radical right wingers like Rep. Steve King of Iowa issued cries to ”Build up that wall,” and Tea Party star Michele Bachmann sternly warned that amnesty for immigrants could cost us our nation.
But a new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that, contrary to Bachman’s concerns, immigration reform will actually lower the national deficit by $197 billion over the next 10 years.
At the same time, another conservative rally was held in D.C. to protest the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Bachmann and others called for the IRS to be abolished, even as reports all but debunking the IRS ‘scandal’ were published.
“It’s sad for the country that a handful of people can actually control the majority party,” Rep. Charlie Rangel, a New York Democrat, told Martin Bashir on Wednesday.” I think their refusal to, or reluctance to, endorse an immigration bill that’s good for this great country of ours is going to be the last nail in the coffin of the Republican Party and that would be unfortunate.”
Rangel pointed out that because the GOP lacks strong support from women, minorities, and the LGBT community, the party has been forced to turn toward radical Tea Party conservatives to keep their majority in the House.
But the base that House Republicans are catering to could be too far right for the establishment: prominent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the original sponsors of the immigration bill, was booed by demonstrators at Wednesday’s rally.
“It’s sad for a country that’s a world leader to catch yourself in this embarrassing position,” Rangel said. “When you think that about the lives lost in wars in order to save this democracy and to see that, it’s really now just a circus.”
Rangel also had some choice words about another headliner at the protests: conservative radio host Glenn Beck. When asked to comment on Beck’s assertion that Frederick Douglass would have wanted Americans to “rise up against the intimidation before the handful of peanuts from our new political masters,” Rangel called Beck “certifiable.”
“You’ve got to give him a pass because any psychiatrist would. I think those type of extremes in public office and having a national platform is awkward for most Americans.”