In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) exposed how House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise strengthened President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty with procedural trickery.
Gohmert said most members had no idea what they were actually voting for when 219 members—216 of which were Republicans—approved a measure, H.R. 5759, first put forward by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), but subsequently dramatically altered by leadership officials in the Rules Committee process.
“I was a cosponsor of the original Yoho bill. I thought it was a very decent bill, it was very short—it was only about a page and a half—and it basically said that anything the president did in violation of current law including what he’s done with ordering work permits for people who are illegally here, it’s illegal,” Gohmert said.
It’s outside the constitutional bounds. If you came through the Speaker’s lobby on the way to the House floor as so many people do, there’s tables there in the Speaker’s lobby that have copies of all the official bills we are taking up that day. There was official copies of H.R. 5759 out there—and they were the short page and a half bill that Representative Yoho had originally filed. But the night before there was an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 5759—what that means is that it’s a new bill. It’s different but it’s going to substitute in its entirety the original bill. It had some of Yoho’s original language in it but they eliminated from the title the word “amnesty” and replaced it with “executive overreach.” Then they had a bunch of ‘findings’ that sounded tough that make it clear the president is not authorized to do what he did. Section One is the short title of the bill. Section Two is the findings that got added, which sounded tough. Section Three is the operative section though.
Gohmert walked Breitbart News through the text of Section Three of the new bill line by line, explaining how each word fits into the legal patchwork of immigration law before getting to the key additions that were made without notifying many of the members who voted for it.
“They added another section called ‘exceptions.’ And the exceptions part says this ‘shall apply except’ and then there’s three parts,” Gohmert said while reading the actual text of the bill on the phone with Breitbart News.
The third one is “for humanitarian purposes where the aliens are at imminent risk of serious bodily harm or death.” That’s what they added. Well, this president has been arguing for months that the things he’s doing is because these people are at imminent risk of serious bodily harm and that’s why he’s doing them. So actually by adding this exception it gives the president for the first time a solid statutory basis to argue that providing those work permits is now legal.
Gohmert said that this addition gives President Obama a foot in the door for a legal argument justifying executive amnesty.