Patrick Hynes has forwarded us a transcript of the McCain blogger conference call and the shot heard ’round the world. The New York Sun’s Ryan Sager has posted the transcript in its entirety here.
In response to Jennifer Rubin’s question, as I noted, Senator McCain defended accelerated passage of the immigration bill without the usual hearings or extended debate:
I think that this is a proposal on an issue that is very well known, I think it’s fairly easy to comprehend it. I think that we should vote for cloture and then relevant amendments, not irrelevant amendments will be allowed. I would like to get it done this week. Five days of intense debate and amendments. If we can’t, we can’t.
Ed Morrissey then asked Senator McCain a question about the removal of the provision requiring illegals to pay back taxes. Here is the relevant part of Ed’s question:
First off, the Boston Globe reported that President Bush asked to remove back tax liability from those pursuing z-visas. Wonder if you could address that and talk about why that’s necessary, because that apparently is creating quite a bit of criticism.
Here is Senator McCain’s answer:
On the back taxes thing, I’d not heard that proposal on the part of the President I would resist that, just because I think it would then, frankly, first of all they should be able to pay their back taxes and make an agreement with the IRS as many Americans are able to do, and second of all it would just throw a little more fuel on the fire. If they’re going to be law abiding citizens, they should correct anything that they’ve done wrong, and if they haven’t paid their back taxes they’ve broken our laws.
All in all, as I noted somewhat tentatively based on my notes of the call, these answers strike me as internally inconsistent.
The answers also create at least the appearance of a conflict with Senator McCain’s 2006 vote opposing an amendment to S.2611 requiring illegals to pay back taxes. (Senator McCain in addition voted in favor of another amendment to S.2611 allowing illegals to collect Social Security on the time that they were here working illegally.) I would guess that this is the kind of inconsistency that can be explained, but it is also probably the kind of inconsistency that calls for an explanation.
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