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Sen. Schumer: Steve King "Calls The Shots" For House GOP on Immigration Reform

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Meanwhile, In the House Pelosi and Hoyer Challenge Republican Leadership on Inaction

As advocates from around the country yesterday rallied for immigration reform and an end to record deportations, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the Senate floor to deliver an impassioned speech directed at the House GOP.  He sharply criticized their failure to take up immigration reform legislation even though it’s been more than 300 days since the Senate passed a broad overhaul on a bipartisan basis.

In particular, Senator Schumer called out Republicans for letting Rep. Steve King (R-IA) drive and define the House Republicans approach on immigration reform, accusing them of handing over the “gavel of leadership” to King — “a far-right, way out of the mainstream outlier.”

Schumer said about King:

He doesn’t just spew hatred, he calls the shots.  They’re following Steve King over the cliff…Where are the people in the Republican Party with the courage to stand up to Steve King?  If Republicans continue to kowtow to the hard right on immigration reform, they’ll consign themselves to being the minority party for a decade

Every time any Republican raised the possibility of action on immigration reform in the House—Steve King is there, in his own words, ‘manning the watchtowers 24/7’ to make sure nothing can be passed to fix our broken immigration system….

My guess is that Republican stomachs churn when they see Steven King spew that kind of rhetoric.  But rather than stand up to him, they give him the keys to the kingdom of immigration reform.

Schumer also added that immigration reform isn’t going away.  Republicans can help the effort pass this year and get credit for it, or continue alienating Latino voters and watch as their electoral future passes them by.  “Immigration reform will pass this year with bipartisan support and a bipartisan imprint,” Schumer said, “or it will pass in future years with only Democratic support and Democratic imprint because Democrats will control Congress and the White House.”

Watch the full video of Sen. Schumer yesterday here.

House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer also weighed in yesterday with similar comments hammering Speaker Boehner’s lack of leadership on immigration reform.

“He ran it up the flagpole,” Pelosi said.  The Democratic caucus “saluted, his caucus cut the flagpole down.”

“Mr. Boehner indicated that [immigration] was not being done because it was tough and people didn’t want to do tough things,” Hoyer added.  “I understand that. It’s hard to do tough things. That’s why they’re called tough.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

The distinction between the parties couldn’t be clearer.  Leading Democrats are doing everything they can to achieve a bipartisan breakthrough on immigration reform, while leading House Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouths but following the lead of Steve King’s ‘Hell No’ caucus.  One party wants to create a path to legal status and eventual citizenship for hard working immigrants, while the other party seems intent on blocking legislation and executive action that would benefit hard working immigrants.  As Senator Schumer rightly points out, Republicans face a stark choice: legislate now on a bipartisan basis, or squander that opportunity forever.

Days since the Senate passed their immigration bill: 308. (See more at http://thecostofinaction.com).