Something new from Paul Ryan’s buddy, Luis Gutierrez, whom you might remember for once declaring that his one and only loyalty is to “the immigrant community.”
I’d love to post the video for you but it was inexplicably removed after righty blogs started paying attention to it. Anyway, key question: Does he have 40-50 Republicans who support immigration reform in the abstract, or does he have 40-50 Republicans willing to vote for immigration reform? Crucial difference.
Gutierrez said Republicans who support the idea are staying deliberately quiet to avoid a backlash from conservative activists.
“Some of them I’ve spoken to, and they say, ‘Love to do the activity with you, I want to be able to vote for it, I really don’t need to draw attention to myself at this point,’ but we can count on it,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said that Obama asked him in 2009 to find him 40 or 50 Republicans who would sign on to a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
“If they asked me today, go find those 40 or 50 Republicans, I’d tell them I found them,” Gutierrez said. “I know where they’re at. They’re here. They’re present.”
He also told the Post he has 195 Democrats onboard, which, if true, means he needs only half the number of Republicans who allegedly told him he can count on them. That gives him plenty of cushion for when a few of them, inevitably, get cold feet.
Two questions. One: What exactly are those 40-50 Republicans signing up for? Are they onboard with the Senate Gang of Eight bill, the House Gang of Seven plan (Gutierrez himself is a member), some sort of path to citizenship, a path to legalization, or something else? Just because there are a few dozen GOPers who are open to legal status in theory in exchange for tighter border security doesn’t mean they’re willing to risk their seats by voting for any ol’ package that Gutierrez puts together. And if they aren’t, then isn’t really news. Of course there are dozens of House Republicans willing to make a theoretical deal here if it’s the right deal. After 10 months of rhetoric from the leadership about demographic destruction of the party because of a lopsided Latino vote, how could there not be?
Two: Even if they’re willing to vote for the Gang of Eight bill (or some product of a conference committee that’s similar to it), what procedural cover would they need to do so? If Boehner’s true to his word about not bringing a bill to the floor unless it’s supported by a majority of Republicans, then Gutierrez’s 40-50 number is meaningless. It’s a useful talking point for amnesty fans insofar as it tells the public there’s a majority of the House ready to do this and that Boehner and his squad of Republican grinches are thwarting them, but legislatively it amounts to nothing. The only end-around the Hastert Rule for Dems is a discharge petition, but I guarantee you that Gutierrez doesn’t have 50 Republicans willing to do something as drastic and unorthodox as that. It would be a serious betrayal of the caucus (if, maybe, not of Boehner himself) and surely some of those 50 would face formidable primary challenges because of it. Could there be, say, 25 Republicans, though, who are safe enough in their districts that they could survive voting with Dems on a discharge petition? We might find out!
Exit question: Is there already a majority of Republicans in favor of Cantor’s version of the DREAM Act? Aaron Schock is hinting that there is.