A commitment to pass something or a commitment to try? You trust a man who tells donors privately that he’s “hellbent” on enacting reform this year not to agree to a crappy deal with the White House, don’t you?
Jarrett believes Boehner will allow a comprehensive immigration reform bill, or a package of bills, to come up for a vote after the primary election to avoid spoiling some GOP candidates’ chances.
“I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done,” Jarrett said. “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.”
And now comes the walkback:
.@chucktodd lost in translation– I said Boehner has made commitment to trying, not that he has made commitment to us or time frame.
— Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) May 16, 2014
Boehner’s spokesman says Republicans are “committed to reforming our immigration system” but that it’s hard to make progress when they can’t trust Obama to blah blah blah blah. The fact is, this is news even if Jarrett’s telling the truth about Boehner merely promising to try. I thought he would after the primaries are over, but there was a chance that the thought of rolling the dice on something this inflammatory so close to the midterms would end up scaring him off, at least until the lame-duck session. Sure sounds from Jarrett like he’s intent on doing this over the summer, though, come what may. Maybe there’s a two-step strategy at work — bring a bill to the floor over the summer that deals only with security and pass that before the midterms, thus reassuring conservatives. Then, after the election, bring everyone back and pass a legalization bill during the lame-duck. The votes are there to do it: A White House official tells the NYT they estimate Boehner has no fewer than 60 Republicans willing to pass a compromise bill. That’s far fewer than he needs if he’s committed to passing everything with a majority of GOPers onboard, but if he isn’t committed to that, he can pass whatever bill he likes by comfortable margins with Democratic help.
Exit question: How good do you feel knowing that Valerie Jarrett, indisputably the most powerful advisor to the most powerful man in the world, is stupid enough to reveal something like this publicly given how fragile immigration negotiations are? The more conservatives doubt Boehner, the harder it is to pass anything in the House — and here she is, babbling about secret commitments he’s made to Democrats. We’re in good hands, America.