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3 posts from February 16, 2013

February 16, 2013

Marco Rubio trashes President Obama's immigration plan as DOA

That didn't take long. A few hours after President Obama proposed an immigration plan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio trashed it.

How much of this is real, and how much political posturing?

The press release:

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding new details about President Obama’s immigration plan, as first reported by USA Today.

“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress. President Obama’s leaked immigration proposal is disappointing to those of us working on a serious solution. The President’s bill repeats the failures of past legislation. It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders, creates a special pathway that puts those who broke our immigration laws at an advantage over those who chose to do things the right way and come here legally, and does nothing to address guest workers or future flow, which serious immigration experts agree is critical to preventing future influxes of illegal immigrants.

“Much like the President’s self-described ‘stop gap’ Deferred Action measure last year, this legislation is half-baked and seriously flawed. It would actually make our immigration problems worse, and would further undermine the American people’s confidence in Washington’s ability to enforce our immigration laws and reform our broken immigration system.

“If actually proposed, the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come.”

Obama's new immigration plan: 8-year pathway to permanent residency for the undocumented

President Obama won bipartisan praise for his tone on immigration during his State of the Union speech. Now he's putting some of those ideas on paper. So far, it's the most-specific comprehensive-immigration reform plan proposed. It fills in details of his May 2011 plan, which Florida Sen. Marco Rubio adopted in large part.

USA Today:

A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA TODAY would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years.

The plan also would provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years. In addition, the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa, under the bill being written by the White House.....

According to the White House draft, people would need to pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information and pay fees to qualify for the new visa. If approved, they would be allowed to legally reside in the U.S., work and leave the country for short periods of time.

Illegal immigrants would be disqualified from the program if they were convicted of a crime that led to a prison term of at least one year, three or more different crimes that resulted in a total of 90 days in jail, or if they committed any offense abroad that "if committed in the United States would render the alien inadmissible or removable from the United States."

More here

AFL-CIO group says report bolsters case against Weatherford's pension reform

The Florida Retirement Security Coalition issued a stinging rebuke on Saturday of Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford’s efforts to reform Florida’s pension system.

Ok, that’s hardly news coming from an outfit managed by the AFL-CIO. It’s no secret the group opposes HB 7011, which would force all public employees hired by agencies enrolled in the state’s $136 billion pension plan to sign-up instead with 401-k plans after January 2014. The coalition has even published a 19-page report arguing that the plan is fiscally sound and needs no major overhaul.

But the group pegged Saturday’s lament on a report released Friday that had been ordered by Weatherford to study the economic impact of the reform. It surely wasn’t Weatherford’s hope that the report would be used as ammo against his proposal.

The study was done by Milliman, a Vienna, VA firm that is among the world’s largest providers of actuarial services.  It warned that the traditional pension plan, which Weatherford has vowed would remain intact, would rely on a shrinking payroll base on which contributions to retirees are made. This would require the contribution rates to increase as a share of payroll. 

How to pay for the growing gap? Workers could pay more in contributions, which are now capped at 3 percent, or local governments and agencies would need to kick in the difference. They might have to kick in more money to make the plan fiscally sound because of the plan’s diminished capability of making long-term investments as the number of contributors erode over time, the report surmised.

That was the opening the coalition needed.

“There is clearly a significant cost associated with this plan,” said Gary Rainey, president of Florida Firefighters. “But the legislature apparently thinks price is no object – probably because they don’t intend to be the ones footing the bill.

“Not only does the legislature want to eliminate retirement security for thousands of public servants like school teachers, firefighters and police but they are likely to expect local governments to shoulder the financial burden,” Rainey added.

There will be other interpretations of the 49-page report, which is mostly actuarial tables, but the coalition was the first one to officially react to it.

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