Immigration Reform's Price Tag

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Hefty Cost, Heftier Reward

The Senate immigration bill would cost $54 billion if signed into law — including extra welfare, social security, and public health care costs, along with the expense of operating a new guest-worker program.

But the bill would generate even larger offsetting revenues — some $66 billion in new income and payroll taxes, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO calculates that the proposal would increase the legal immigrant population in the U.S. by 20 million over the next 10 years — including making legal the 11 million already here.

But critics tell Mark Sanford says he vetoed the bill because the federal government has already passed a similar measure and he said that under the broader state bill, officials could lock up a homeless person sleeping in a cemetery or children taking a short cut.

But state representatives point out that the federal law only applies to national cemeteries and note that under their measure, only those who engage in "willful, knowing, or malicious disturbances" would be prosecuted.

Moronic Message

New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi's remarks at a Queens College commencement Thursday have been described as "beyond dumb," "remarkably stupid," and "incredibly moronic" — and those are the words used by Hevesi himself.

Speaking after New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Hevesi described the senator as someone who would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."

Hevesi, who is up for re-election, apologized profusely for the remarks at a press conference just hours later, saying he merely meant to praise Schumer's toughness. He says he hasn't spoken with anyone at the White House, but hopes his apology reaches President Bush.

Greenpeace Gets Angry

Environmental activists at Greenpeace drafted an attack on the president's support for nuclear power last week, calling it a "volatile and dangerous source of energy" that poses a serious threat. But staffers struggled to find the right scary example to argue against nuclear power.

The working draft left a space for that, calling on others to, as the author put it, "fill in alarmist and armageddonist factoid here." But before anyone could come up with such an "alarmist or armageddonist factoid," the memo was mistakenly released. A Greenpeace spokesman says the line was intended as a joke, but adds, "Given the seriousness of the issue at hand, I don't even think it's funny."

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.