Speaking at a forum in Reno yesterday, Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller stated, “I believe as I stand in front of you today, if you put comprehensive immigration reform on the floor of the House of Representative, it would pass today.” Senator Heller also predicted that “when and if this bill gets to the House floor, I do believe it will pass and every member of our House delegation will vote for it.”
Senator Heller is admitting what we already know – that the votes exist in the House of Representatives to pass immigration reform right now. Last week’s House vote on the debt-ceiling again demonstrated that a “governing majority” does exist in the House to pass priority legislation and that the so-called “Hastert rule” is really the “Hastert excuse” – the debt-ceiling vote was the fifth instance this Congress in which Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) ignored the “majority of the majority” in order to advance must-pass legislation.
For Nevada Republicans like Senator Heller, immigration reform is exactly that type of must-pass legislation that should compel a vote. In Nevada and an increasing number of states across the country, the changing demographics and makeup of their state’s electorate mean that immigration reform is directly tied to their own and their party’s electoral future. Yet currently, the only immigration floor action that House Republicans have taken this Congress is their vote in favor of anti-immigrant extremist Steve King’s (R-IA) amendment to defund the DACA program and subject DREAMers to deportation.
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
In a moment of candor, Senator Heller admitted what we all know: the votes exist in the House today to pass immigration reform. Will Speaker Boehner and the House leadership allow the majority to express its will? The future of the GOP as a national party – in 2016 and beyond – may well depend on it.