Immigration Reform Talks 'Near Collapse' in House
Can't say I'm surprised since House Democrats want a bill as close to the Senate version of immigration reform as possible -- something they are not going to get and it now appears doubtful that any proposed comprehensive legislation will come out of the House at all.
Bipartisan meetings in the House of Representatives on a comprehensive immigration reform bill have failed, and the congressmen will meet for the last time today without reaching an agreement on a House bill, ABC News has learned.
The stumbling block is GOP insistence that newly legalized workers now working in the shadows have no access to government-sponsored health care during their 15-year pathway to citizenship, according to two sources with access to the secret house “Gang of 8″ meetings.
Democrats say that since these newly legalized immigrants would be paying taxes they should be eligible for benefits.
The stalemate is not expected to be solved and any immigration legislation from the House would likely proceed in piecemeal fashion.
This latest development represents a huge blow to immigration reform advocates because the House is likely to pass several smaller bills that address immigration reform, but would not include a pathway to citizenship. It creates a much longer and arduous legislative road to a bill President Obama would be willing to sign.
A comprehensive approach to immigration reform never had much chance in the House -- too many poison pills for Republicans and the Democrats were unwilling to accede to GOP demands on almost everything.
If Obama is smart, he'll take what he can get on immigration reform. This would probably be a generous guest worker program, border security provisions, mandatory use of e-verify, a visa simplification process, and perhaps, some kind of a "path to legality" for illegal aliens already here. It won't be in comprehensive form, but rather a series of stand alone bills that may -- or may not -- be taken up serially.
Once again, the president has failed to lead on an issue that he considers of vital importance to the nation. He handed the ball to the "Gang of Eight" in the House and Senate and told them to have at it. He has made pretty speeches to adoring fans but when it comes to doing the scut work and getting in the trenches to fight for what he believes, he comes up short.
A pathetic excuse for a president.
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