Commentators from a number of outlets this week made it clear that the only enemy immigration reform has ever faced, and the only culprit that will ever exist in the death of immigration reform—if it dies—is the House GOP Leadership, starting with Speaker John Boehner.
On Wednesday, Politico published a piece on how immigration reform is working against time, considering the debt ceiling negotiations that are coming this fall and the lack of legislative time left on the calendar. For a House GOP that has already tried blaming their inaction on immigration reform on President Obama and the Democrats, time could well be the next convenient cover that Boehner, Goodlatte, etc. latch onto. But many are already calling out that flimsy excuse.
At Brian Beutler at Salon pointed out yesterday, there is exactly one reason why immigration reform hasn’t passed through the House yet, and that’s John Boehner. Immigration reform has the votes to pass through the House, if not for Boehner’s insistence on obeying the Hastert rule. As Beutler writes:
It’s still the case that the Senate’s immigration bill would probably pass if Republican leaders put it on the House floor for a vote. Why on earth would House Speaker John Boehner make such a big show of insisting on majority-GOP support for a House immigration package if he didn’t think the existing reform bill wouldn’t pass with a minority of Republicans?
That arbitrary condition puts pro-immigration reform Republicans in the awkward position of having to find some reason to support the GOP leadership’s legislative strategy, even though they know how unlikely it is to bear fruit in such a time constrained and fraught environment. It’s a pretty good bill, they acknowledge, but it won’t or shouldn’t get a vote because…something, something.
Jonathan Bernstein at the Washington Post agrees that basically every reason Republicans claim for why they can’t pass immigration reform is just another excuse for how they don’t want to:
What this is really about is looking for excuses, even far-fetched ones, for why they’re not doing comprehensive immigration reform without actually admitting that they’re against comprehensive immigration reform.
It’s not going to wash. Republicans don’t have to actually vote in favor of a bill, but if they refuse to allow it to be considered (and, therefore, to pass over their objections with a coalition of mostly Democratic votes), then the groups who want a bill are going to blame Republicans, and John Boehner, for it.
It remains very simple. If most mainstream conservative Republicans in the House want comprehensive immigration reform to pass, it will pass. If they don’t, it won’t. It really is that simple
And Jed Lewison at the Daily Kos wonders how time could be the reason for legislative inaction. House Republicans don’t have enough time? What else are they doing?
Saying that the calendar is the problem is the same thing as saying that the House has been too busy and will be too busy to deal with immigration reform. This House, too busy? Seriously, can you think of a dumber claim to make than that the laziest, most do-nothing House of Representatives ever was doing too much other stuff to deal with immigration reform?
A few headlines from the last few weeks have been preemptively post-morteming immigration reform, because it’s supposedly too hard to get the House to do anything and the Republicans have been intractable as an opposition. But passing immigration reform could actually be the easiest thing in the world. All John Boehner has to do is give us a vote.