These Republican leaders are running scared from immigration reform

He contends the act is a change to military code and not new immigration law. That’s why he asked Boehner and Cantor, who have both spoken out in support of the idea, to attach the act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. But Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) threatened that “all hell” was going to “break loose” in Congress if the ENLIST Act was attached to the defense bill.

All of this was enough to send Boehner and Cantor running. “We have supported it [the ENLIST Act] in the past but trying to do this on the national defense authorization bill seemed to us to be an inappropriate place to do it,” Boehner explained to reporters. He would not even say if the GOP leadership would permit the act to come to the floor for consideration on its own.

The paralysis gripping House Republican leaders was supposed to have ended with the primary campaign season and challenges from the far right.

But most primary contests are now done. Incumbents have overwhelmingly beaten back far-right, Tea Party challengers in the Senate and the House. Polls consistently show both Tea Party and non-Tea Party Republicans support Congress taking action on immigration reform.