This morning, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) chastised Democrats for not doing anything about language in the jobs bill which he claims will allow employers of “illegal workers” and the “illegal workers” themselves to receive “benefits of a payroll tax holiday.” Grassley remarked:
The bill as currently written would allow employers of illegal workers to benefit from a payroll tax holiday. Now, for sure we should correct that mistake with an amendment. But under this parliamentary setup, you can only offer an amendment if not a single Senator objects to setting aside the existing business and replacing it with a new idea.
So, the leadership put posture on this bill now prohibits this correction of giving illegal workers the benefits of this payroll tax holiday — or the employer who employs him. Either the Democratic leaders are playing partisan politics with tax extenders or they don’t understand the worth of the provisions to the economy as a whole and most importantly, job retention and job creation.
However, if anyone is playing partisan politics, it’s Grassley. An article in the Hill points out that the current jobs bill contains the exact same language that was first introduced in the tax rebate bill by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) which raised few, if any immigration-related objections. Along these lines, Democrats claim that Grassley’s concerns are nothing more than a transparent excuse to oppose a bill along partisan lines.
Either that, or Grassley himself is ignorant of the implications of his own argument in terms of job retention and job creation. Grassley’s concerns are reportedly ripped straight off the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — an immigration restrictionist organization that has also been designated a hate group. According to FAIR, the bill “disappointed immigration reformers” like themselves because it left “out any mandate that jobs created by the bill go to U.S. workers” and doesn’t require employers to use E-Verify — a controversial electronic verification system that many claim is simply “not ready for prime time.” According to a human resources association, E-Verify has a 4.1% error rate which could deny as many as 6 million Americans employment due to a bureaucratic error.
Ultimately, the current law dictates that it is illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers, so spending valuable floor time on an amendment that reiterates a law that is already on the books seems unnecessary. While unauthorized workers are certainly part of the reality of the nation’s broken immigration system, the jobs bill certainly doesn’t provide the proper time or setting for that debate to take place. However, despite his concerns relating to foreign workers, Grassley has already asserted that he isn’t interested in working towards a productive solution that involves even touching a “general immigration reform bill” with a ten-foot pole.