The PJ Tatler

GOP on Suicide Watch as Immigration Vote Looms

OK boys and girls — Let’s all join hands, count to three, and jump off the cliff together.


Nobody will ever accuse John Boehner of having political courage — or possessing excess intelligence. Why now? What’s the rush?

is as disgusted as anyone:

Outrageous. Not the fact that the House leadership wants to do something on immigration; that’s been common knowledge for 18 months. What’s outrageous is the timing, which, if this AP report is accurate, would confirm our most cynical suspicions about just how gutless and unaccountable Republicans are on this issue. I remember critics predicting last year that Boehner wouldn’t bring something to the floor before the House primaries for fear that a backlash among conservative voters would knock out a bunch of incumbents. He’d wait until just after the primaries had ended to do it, so that conservatives would be powerless to exert any influence over the process.

So the timid, scaredy-cat Republicans didn’t want a vote on immigration reform until their sinecure was secure and they didn’t have to face angry conservatives who might have primaried them.

Profiles of a jellyfish.

Businessweek gives the real reason Boehner is hesitating:

Some reformers had hoped that Boehner would find a way around the anti-immigration conservatives in his caucus—that even as he appeased them by denouncing the Senate bill, he would arrange to make it a fait accompli through legislative maneuvering. In January, Boehner issued a “framework” to legalize undocumented workers that might have smoothed the path to legislation, but conservatives quickly beat it back.

To maintain an appearance of working toward reform even as they reject the Senate’s comprehensive approach, various House Committees have passed narrowly targeted bills.

Modest though they may be, such a bill could theoretically serve as a vehicle for more ambitious reform. Were the House to pass it, a House-Senate conference committee assembled to reconcile the two bills could—if it were stacked with reform supporters—produce something that very closely resembles the Senate’s bill. “I think that moving in a piece-by-piece fashion on this in a common-sense way is the way to do this,” Boehner said on May 22. Yet so far he has refused to allow the House even to vote on these narrow Republican measures.
Story: An Immigration Deal Worth Reaching

Reformers are clinging to one final possibility: When the primaries are finished and Republican members no longer face the immediate prospect of being unseated by a challenge from their right, they’ll act quickly to address their party’s problems with Hispanics. But that hope is hard to square with how these primary races are unfolding. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who claims to support reform and faces a June 10 primary, recently sent out a campaign flier boasting that he “is stopping the Obama-Reid plan to give illegal aliens amnesty.”

Boehner is likely to lose his speakership if immigration reform passes. At the very least, millions of conservatives would stay home  on election day if he’s stupid enough to bring the bills to the floor.

While the GOP approach is sound — carefully targeted reforms of a broken system with strong enforcement provisions — the problem is that any conference committee with the Senate is likely to end up with a final package looking an awful lot like the execrable “comprehensive reform” passed by the upper body last year. That makes any vote on immigration reform in the House an invitation to force a vote on the Senate bill.

What is the problem with waiting until next year when there’s a good chance the GOP will control both houses of Congress, and won’t have to worry about “amnesty?” The Republican’s piecemeal approach to reform — prudent, realistic, and popular — is a far better alternative than passing a fatally flawed Senate bill that no one expects the Obama administration to honor the enforcement provisions. A GOP bill could put real teeth into those provisions, making it far more difficult for the administration to weasel out of their responsibilities to secure the border.

it’s a canard to say that the passage of an immigration reform bill will attract any Hispanic votes. Reform supporters repeat it like a mantra despite the fact there is zero evidence that Hispanics will begin a love affair with the Republican party if immigration reform is passed. The president, the Democrats, and the press will all see to it that the GOP will get no credit for the bill’s passage, and all the blame for the delay.

The Republicans are about to commit hari-kari and John Boehner is handing them the sword.