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- 09-27-2006, 05:48 PM #1
Armey blasts Republicans over opposition to guest-worker pla
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercuryn ... 622572.htm
Posted on Wed, Sep. 27, 2006
Armey blasts Republicans over opposition to guest-worker plan
By Dave Montgomery
WASHINGTON - As the No. 2 man in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for nearly eight years, former Texas congressman Dick Armey never hesitated when it came to assailing Democrats.
But three years after leaving Congress, the former House majority leader is now savaging conservatives in his own party for what he calls "knee-jerk" opposition - "emphasis on jerk" - to the Bush administration's efforts to create a temporary guest-worker program and overhaul the nation's immigration system.
Armey, who is chairman of a Washington-based grass-roots organization called FreedomWorks, was a leading architect of the Republican takeover of the House in 1994 and remains a prominent and outspoken advocate for conservative causes.
But when it comes to the immigration debate that's raged in Congress for much of the past two years, he takes an almost polar-opposite position from many of his former Republican House colleagues, who are pressing for tough border security measures, including a 700-mile fence along the Southwest border.
"This has been rallied up by a lot of people that are very visible, make a lot of noise and have never been guilty of any deep thinking," Armey said Tuesday during an appearance with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., co-sponsors of a proposed immigration compromise that includes a privately managed guest-worker program.
Unabashedly naming names, Armey described Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., as the "cheerleader of jerkiness in the immigration debate" and said conservative commentator Pat Buchanan "is content to be a rock star" for "10 percent of the most militant voters in America."
Tancredo leads a coalition of House Republicans vehemently opposed to the president's guest-worker plan. Buchanan, who ran for president in 2000 as a Reform Party candidate, wants to defend the borders with U.S. troops and has said that the United States is in danger of becoming "MexiAmerica."
Armey also said he was "disappointed" with House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chief sponsor of an enforcement-only immigration plan passed by the House in December.
Several provisions, including the border fence, are being recycled as piecemeal border security measures that House leaders hope will clear Congress before a pre-election recess this week.
"I would have expected more deep thought from Sensenbrenner," Armey said.
Tancredo and Bay Buchanan, Pat Buchanan's sister and the president of his foundation, The American Cause, both fired back with withering responses. Sensenbrenner's office had no comment.
"In Dick Armey's search for relevance in today's political environment, it's disappointing that he has managed to find it as a patriot for profit," said Tancredo, chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus. "Someone should remind him that the jerks he is speaking of happen to be the heart and soul of the Republican Party."
"Unfortunately, it's Republicans like Dick Armey that did not do the job of securing this nation when they were in office," said Bay Buchanan. "Dick is on the sidelines where he belongs."Need Law Enforcement Information? Click here for the Alipac Action Panel