Doesn’t mean the House won’t pass something of its own, and it doesn’t mean something resembling the Gang of Eight bill won’t emerge from the conference committee later. But let’s appreciate good news while we have it.
In closed door mtg, Boehner just told Rs the House will not bring up the Senate immigration bill
— Jonathan Strong (@j_strong) June 26, 2013
Btw House will do its own immigration bills, so not like issue is dead
— Jonathan Strong (@j_strong) June 26, 2013
I wonder if Boehner’s main concern here is PR or if he’s worried that the damned thing might actually pass if he allows a vote on it. In terms of PR, he doesn’t want to make it any easier for Democrats to paint the GOP as anti-reform; shelving the bill is better in that sense than putting it on the floor and letting House Republicans demolish it. On the other hand, maybe he’s not so sure that it would actually be demolished. Pelosi can probably pull together 170-80 Democratic votes for it. In that case, all you’d need are 40-50 wayward RINOs to defy leadership and cross the aisle and the bill will be on Obama’s desk. Can’t chance it.
That doesn’t mean, though, that they’re not suddenly under heavy pressure to oppose a Gang-style compromise. Per Rasmussen’s new poll, fully 51 percent of likely voters say that immigration is now “very important” to how they’ll vote in the midterms. One Senate staffer in Roger Wicker’s office told the Daily Caller that they got 500 calls yesterday alone. House Republicans will hear it even louder than that now that they’re the last line of defense from passage and grassroots favorites like Palin are calling openly for primary challenges against people who vote for the Gang’s bill:
“Conservatives are getting ready for the 2014 and 2016 primaries. We have long memories, and there will be consequences for those who break campaign promises and vote for this amnesty bill,” Palin told Breitbart News. “Competition makes everyone work harder, be better, and be held accountable. This applies to politics, too. No one is ‘entitled’ to anything.”…
Palin responded to Breitbart News’s request for comment about an interview she did earlier on Tuesday with John Gibson on Fox News radio in which she said Rubio and Ayotte “turned their back” on voters and should be primaried to be held accountable. Rubio and Ayotte will be up for reelection in 2016…
Palin also told Gibson that she had said “nice things” about Rubio before he “reneged on his promise” on the bill because she thought he was “an honest politician.” She remarked, “honest politician” is too often an oxymoron.
Again, though: The House will, and really must, pass some sort of immigration reform of its own, if only for tactical reasons. Killing the Gang of Eight bill and offering nothing in return is, shall we say, a “bad narrative” to hand to the media. Better to pass something and then have Senate Democrats kill it in their chamber to complicate the GOP-is-a-roadblock-to-reform narrative. Maybe they’ll pass a true “security first” bill that demands border improvements before any sort of legalization occurs. Or maybe they’ll take Mickey Kaus’s oft-offered advice and pass some sort of smaller reform on which comprehensive reform can be built later if security improves in the meantime. E.g., they could pass the DREAM Act to amnestize younger illegals in exchange for Democrats approving E-Verify. If Reid doesn’t like that, then he can explain why it fell to Democrats this time to kill the DREAM.
Go look at National Journal’s new poll revealing just how much Americans hate the idea of making government benefits available to illegals under the Gang’s bill. (Even Democrats, to the tune of 65 percent.) Which benefits does the bill grant? Hard to say — remember, even the people who voted to end debate on it didn’t care to scrutinize it first for horrible unintended consequences. And speaking of benefits, Ryan Lizza asks an excellent question:
DOMA ruling has direct impact on immigration. Married same-sex couples can now sponsor foreign partners. No need for Leahy amendment, right?
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) June 26, 2013
Leahy’s amendment would have extended benefits under the Senate bill to the spouses of gay illegals. That was Rubio’s dealbreaker on the bill — not the fact that it placed legalization before border security, not the fact that by CBO’s estimate it would reduce illegal immigration by just 25 percent (before Corker/Hoeven), but the fact that a tiny percentage of the illegal population would be allowed spousal benefits notwithstanding their being gay and married. That’s the smoking gun on how unserious and nakedly political all this is for him. No one who cares about border security would let that, rather than “legalization first,” jeopardize his vote for the bill, but it makes perfect sense if you realize that he’s worried about winning social conservative votes in 2016, especially in Iowa. In any case, the Court’s now, apparently, rendered Leahy’s amendment moot on constitutional grounds. Spouses of gay illegals should get benefits as a matter of equal protection. Does that mean Rubio walks? Or does he just shrug it off on grounds that he disagrees with the Court but whaddaya gonna do? I know how I’m betting.