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Menendez, Boehner Clash Over Hastert Rule for Immigration Reform

Boehner: "I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that will violate the principles of our majority and divide our conference."

by
Bill Straub

Bio

June 19, 2013 - 10:32 am

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bob Menendez expressed displeasure Tuesday over House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to withhold consideration of any immigration reform measure that doesn’t have the support of the majority of the Republican caucus.

Menendez (D-N.J.), a member of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of upper-chamber lawmakers who have pieced together a delicate immigration compromise, questioned Boehner’s seriousness about addressing the issue “if he is willing to put tea party politics ahead of the will of the American people.”

“It is amazing and alarming that Speaker Boehner would allow a minority of House members – who will never, ever support immigration reform – to dictate the fate of bipartisan, comprehensive reform that an overwhelming majority of the American people want,” Menendez said.

The decision, Menendez said, is “not in our national interest and it’s certainly not about fixing our broken immigration system.”

Earlier Tuesday, Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that he could not envision a scenario where he would permit debate over immigration reform if most members of the Republican majority in the House didn’t offer their support.

Boehner said the only time he will consider bringing an issue to the floor without the support of his caucus is “when there is zero leverage.” That has occurred during his tenure in the chair on occasion – most recently when the lower chamber voted on Hurricane Sandy relief – but only when “we faced a worse alternative, politically or in terms of policy.”

That is not the case in this instant, Boehner said, so he is obliged to implement what is popularly known as the Hastert rule, named after former House Speaker Denny Hastert, an Illinois Republican who took great pains to satisfy his caucus.

“We have plenty of leverage,” Boehner said. “And I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that will violate the principles of our majority and divide our conference. One of our principles is border security. I have no intention of putting a bill on the floor that the people in this room do not believe secures our borders. It’s not going to happen.”

Boehner to this point has been coy about how he intended to address immigration reform, which is making its way through the Senate with a vote slated before July 4. But he has been under pressure from GOP lawmakers, particularly those with a conservative bent, to take a stand.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), appearing on World Net Daily radio, said earlier this week that Boehner should be ousted if he doesn’t adhere to the Hastert rule.

“I would consider that a betrayal of the Republican members of the House and a betrayal of the Republicans throughout the country,” Rohrabacher said. “If Boehner moves forward and permits this to come to a vote even though the majority of Republicans in the House — and that’s if they do — oppose what’s coming to a vote, he should be removed as speaker.”

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, said Tuesday that he told Menendez and other Democratic members of the Gang of Eight to concentrate on getting the measure through the Senate and not concern themselves with Boehner’s comments. Sooner or later, Reid said, the House will be forced to act.

“No matter what he has said, there’s going to be significant national pressure on the House to do something on immigration,” Reid said. “I’m only worried about what’s going to happen here and I’m not going to say how I really feel about it, OK?”

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday began a mark-up on what is called the SAFE Act, which provides local police the authority to arrest illegal immigrants and transfer them to federal custody and expands the number of detention facilities for those awaiting deportation. Other immigration bills are to follow.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has expressed a desire to consider individual pieces of immigration legislation rather than follow the Senate’s lead and work on a single comprehensive reform measure.

The Senate, meanwhile, is continuing debate on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, which creates a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants who entered or remained in the country without proper documentation.

Under the bill, illegal immigrants who have resided in the U.S. since Dec. 13, 2011, must seek provisional legal status that allows them to work but renders them ineligible for federal benefits. They must pay a penalty, taxes, and a processing fee and can only apply for permanent status after 10 years.

A new visa program for low-skilled workers would be developed and the Department of Homeland Security would be charged with coming up with a $4.5 billion plan to gain effective control of the porous Southern border with Mexico.

Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

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Top Rated Comments   
Because every state is guaranteed two Senators, and in New Jersey it's impossible to find someone to take the job who doesn't do those things.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does anyone know why the known frequenter of prostitutes, potential pedophile, and possible organized crime associate is still a Senator from New Jersey?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A Democrat invoking "the will of the American people" is just too rich for words.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (26)
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Breaking, Boehner is starting to cave.

John Boehner "If it saves money, immigration reform could be "real boon"

Boehner has reportedly asked Paul Ryan to run the numbers to see if immigration reform will save money. If it does he will support the legislation.

Time to kick both Boehner and Ryan to the curb.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The next stage is the Boehner Sanction
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What this "immigration legislation" plainly says:

"Congress and this Administration will continue to refuse to enforce any current immigration law because it does not empower our politics.
So; Up yours".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bob Menéndez es un loco pendejo
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It makes sense Boehner has played his cards close to the vest. There is no benefit at all to the Speaker opposing a bill that isn't even in its final form, much less passed the Senate yet. By stating his dedication to meaningful and principled reforms that must include border security measures that satisfy the caucus, he is merely reaffirming existing policy.

There was no advantage in presenting himself early as a public target for the inevitable charges of "obstructionist" - especially if that's the role he intends to play.

And Reid has no room to talk about the House. Nothing gets a vote in the Senate without his say-so, and he has ruled with a more partisan and draconian hand than any Majority Leader in recent history.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here's a radical new idea. Why don't we repeal immigration law that has been enacted since the odeus 1986 "Immigration Reform"? You know... go back to the way things were before Congress created this mess...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It causes me great distress and consternation when I think that the senator might be "displeased". Is that not what his whores are for...to "please" him?

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Menendez expressed displeasure? Who asked him? Given the way most of the Republican leadership has been acting lately, he probably thinks Boehner will go for it. I hate to say it, but, with most of the GOP leadership with their heads up their butts, Menendez might be right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
BTW, I want to thank Speaker Boehner for blocking this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Boehner isn't doing this out of principal. He's doing it out of self interest. If he brings this bill to the floor he will lose his position as speaker.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That works for me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Sen. Bob Menendez expressed displeasure Tuesday over House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to withhold consideration of any immigration reform measure that doesn’t have the support of the majority of the Republican caucus."

Oh, Dear me! The last thing anyone should do is "displeasure" Sen Menendez. Wreak havoc on our immigration laws? OK! But never, ever displeasure the Senator!

'The decision, Menendez said, is “not in our national interest and it’s certainly not about fixing our broken immigration system.”

The Immigration Reform itself is “not in our national interest and it’s certainly not about fixing our broken immigration system.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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