The PJ Tatler

House Dem Leader: GOP Caucus Needs to Find Its Anchor

The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said his party is benefiting from having a better “anchor” than lawmakers on the other side of the aisle.

“I think the Republican Party is trying to figure out who it is, you know, this internal civil war they’re having,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) told MSNBC this morning.

“But once they do, then you know where the anchor is. And on the Democratic side, you — there’s a better sense of where the anchor is. And you do exactly as you said. You come together. You figure out where the middle is. And then you get things done,” he continued.

“And we’ve not been able to get things done because as you can see with immigration, there is a far right element to the Republican party that’s unwilling to let the right do what it would like to do, and that is get us moving. And it’s unfortunate.”

Becerra likened House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) trying to get his caucus to agree to punt the immigration funding fight to next year to “John the gambler, the poker player, coming out of his caucus, saying we’re not talking about shutting down the government.”

“And a whole bunch of the poker players at the table saying, hey, this isn’t good enough. We’re — we’re ready to shut down the government,” he said. “And he’s hoping, I believe, that there will be enough votes, Republicans, and maybe he can gather a few Democrats that he can get something out of the House.”

“And he’s got to do that, because he’s got to try to navigate the ship. And unfortunately, you gotta — he’s gonna have a crew, part of the crew that wants to shut the government down. And so, I think he’s — I think Speaker Boehner does not want to shut the government down. But I believe he’s got an element in his Republican caucus that does.”

This morning Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has previously held secret meetings with a core group of House Tea Party allies to try to sway House action, issued a statement saying “both Houses should use the power of the purse” to stop President Obama’s immigration executive action.

“We should pass a short-term continuing resolution that includes language defunding the implementation of the president’s executive action on amnesty,” Cruz said, arguing that a dozen Senate Democrats have expressed concern with Obama’s unilateral action. However, while Democrats have expressed displeasure with the executive action, most have said they agree with the policies and purpose.

“Most people will tell you, OK, let’s get tough on the border. Let’s get tough at the workplace so we don’t let Americans violate the law and hire people who don’t have the right to work. Let’s deal with those who have been trying to come in the right way for years and are upset that the process doesn’t work with legal visas. And then let’s deal with the 10, 11 million people who are here, who some of whom have been working a long time, paying taxes. Give them a chance. And the rest, go ahead and start deporting,” Becerra said.

“And most people would tell you there’s a common sense way to do this. They just don’t see why Washington can’t understand that.”