It’s been a couple months since the Senate passed its landmark immigration reform bill, a bipartisan vote on a path to citizenship that drew the support of 68 Senators, including every single Democrat and 14 Republicans. This week, Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) are wondering just what is taking so long for the House to do the same thing.
Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, and Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, along with other top congressional leaders met with Speaker John Boehner yesterday to talk about issues this fall including the debt limit and immigration reform.
As Roll Call reported, the Senate Democrats made it very clear to Boehner that he needs to lead and actually do things–like pass immigration reform–rather than just obstruct things. As Durbin said afterward, referring to how enough votes already exist in the House to pass reform with a path to citizenship:
I sometimes sympathize with Speaker Boehner, but the fact of the matter is, if he wants to lead for the good of this nation he has to step beyond the tea party faction in his caucus. If he would call our farm bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, it would pass. I believe if he called our immigration bill on the floor of the House of Representatives, it would pass. If he would call on the floor a basic funding level of the Senate budget resolution, it would pass.
He has bowed to this willful minority in his own caucus at the expense of this government and of this nation.
That “willful minority,” the more right-wing segment of the House GOP, has been using any and every excuse it can get its hands on–including Syria, the legislative calendar, budget negotiations, and President Obama, among others—to try to block action on immigration reform. But Sen. Reid shot that down last weekend, when he went on Telemundo. As he said: “This debate on Syria is going to take place and it’ll be over very quickly. That will have no impact on our ability to do immigration.”
Reid also told Telemundo that he believes that it’s necessary for the House to do exactly as the Senate did in June, and pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill–quickly. Watch below:
In order words, Speaker Boehner and the House GOP need to get to it. Rather than continuing to dither around, they need to take action, forget the excuses, and pass immigration reform.
We appreciate the pressure that Sens. Durbin and Reid are putting on Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy, who so clearly need to find some inspiration and get their caucus in line. We admire the courage of the 110 women who blocked traffic on the Capitol yesterday to highlight the urgency of immigration reform for so many American families.
But we have to wonder, where are the House Democratic leaders? And where is the pressure from the 26 House Republicans who have already come out in support of citizenship?
It’s time for everyone to get on the playing field and make sure the House passes immigration reform with a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans this year.